Prosecutors: Man who fled police, killed pastor had marijuana in system

Darryl Harris
Darryl Harris

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Prosecutors say the man who led police on a chase had marijuana in his system when he hit and killed a Richmond pastor. Darryl Harris, 26, will be in court tomorrow.

Prosecutors say toxicology test show marijuana in Harris' system the night he fled a police checkpoint in Henrico County. The chase happened in March.

Investigators say Harris ran stops signs at high speeds through the narrow streets of Church Hill. The chase ended when Harris' car crashed into Apostle Anthony Taylor's truck. Taylor's death shocked and outraged the community.

Antoine Brown, is an assistant pastor at the United House of Prayer for all people. In an interview one month after Taylor's death he said, "I see it or watch them [police chases] on documentaries and speed shows all the time just never thought it would hit so close to home."

Delegate Delores McQuinn has is preparing to propose legislation on police chases. She said,
"You want to know if it was something that could have been prevented."

Prosecutors have charged Harris with second degree murder and felony hit and run. Now they are seeking three more charges: aggravated involuntary manslaughter, eluding police and a second offense DUI. Harris has a prior DUI conviction in Henrico County.

He will be in court Friday for a motions hearing, where prosecutors will argue whether evidence related to Henrico's police chase policy should be allowed during the trial.

Harris' attorney Michael Morchower has long argued police caused the accident. Shortly after Harris' arrest he said, "They want to bury him, they want to put him under the jail. That's what they're trying to do for an accident that was caused by the police."

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Learned Barry said shortly after Harris was charged, "No one has the right to flee from the police. When an innocent person is killed as far as we're concerned that's murder."

A grand jury will consider the new charges on Monday. Harris' attorney declined to comment tonight, saying this case needs to be heard in the courtroom.

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