Man steals police car, causes fatal crash

Oct. 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- A Belleville, Ill., woman was killed when her vehicle was struck by a stolen police car traveling in excess of 100 mph in East St. Louis, Ill., police said.

A police officer was called Wednesday morning to escort a man from a city bus when he refused to pay the fare and appeared intoxicated. The man, whose name was not reported, drove off in the officer's car and minutes later, struck two cars, East St. Louis Assistant Police Chief R.O. Ike said.

One car was pushed off the road in the crash. The other car was pushed into a utility pole, and the driver, Maxsimillion "Max" Quarles-Gaston, 41, died at the scene, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.

Lt. David Wasmuth of the Illinois State police said his office was seeking charges against the driver of the stolen police car, who was hospitalized after the accident. The report did not indicate what specific charges police would bring.

"That's one of the worst crashed I've ever seen. She had no chance," said Wasmuth, adding Quarles-Gaston was wearing her seat belt, and that her car's airbags deployed properly.

East St. Louis Police Capt. Bobby Cole said the officer in the incident was sent home after the crash but no administrative charges were being taken against him.

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