SUSSEX, VA (WWBT) - A 5-year-old girl was killed in a crash when the vehicle she was in was struck by another vehicle that was fleeing police. An 8-year-old boy also suffered life-threatening injuries.
Virginia State Police said Toriando B. Smith, 29, of Petersburg, fled police just after 8 a.m. April 3, when a trooper tried to initiate a traffic stop for speeding.
The vehicle, a Chevrolet Cruze, was going 39 mph in a 25 mph zone when the trooper initiated the stop. As he approached the vehicle, it fled. During the pursuit, the vehicle reached speeds of more than 100 mph.
“Actually when I first heard the sirens I thought it might have been a fire or something because it was so many sirens,” nearby resident Leon Phillips said.
The pursuit began on Halligan Park Road in Dinwiddie and ended on Concord Sappony Road in Sussex County.
VSP said the trooper lost sight of the vehicle during the pursuit but came upon a crash where the Cruze had struck a Chevrolet Impala head-on, causing the Cruze to catch fire.
“My wife looked out the back door and saw the black smoke rolling out over the field,” resident Barry Kennedy said.
The 5-year-old girl who was killed was riding in the back of the Impala. VSP said she was in a booster seat and wearing a seat belt.
An 8-year-old boy was airlifted to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. The 30-year-old woman from Stony Creek who was driving the Impala was transported to VCU Medical Center for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“It’s heartbreaking. I have four grandchildren seven and below. It’s very heartbreaking and how could anyone be so careless,” Lynn Poole said.
The driver of the Cruze was taken to VCU Medical Center with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Heartbroken neighbors believe it’s a dangerous road, especially for drivers not from the area.
“It’s very curvy, and if you don’t know these roads like the back of your hand it’s very easy to have an accident or cause an accident,” Lynn Poole said.
The crash is under investigation.
Smith is charged with involuntary manslaughter, felony eluding and driving on a revoked license. Additional charges are pending.
Court records show that Smith was wanted on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and a felony failure to appear. He previously pleaded guilty to a concealed weapons charge in 2016.
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