Man Shot Dead Following Police Chase

By KATHERINE CREAG
|  Saturday, Mar 26, 2011  |  Updated 5:08 PM EDT
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Man Shot Dead Following Police Chase

Police investigate after a deadly chase and shooting in the Bronx.

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A man led NYPD officers on a wild car chase through the Bronx early Saturday, then was shot and killed by police as he tried to ram his way through stopped traffic on an expressway, law enforcement officials said.

Police fired a total of 19 shots at the car before the incident was over, law enforcement officials said.

The incident happened near 135th Street along the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx and the investigation kept the busy highway closed for hours. EMS officials said four other people were transported to Lincoln Hospital for injuries, including a boy and his mother.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said Orlando Santos, who was wanted on a drug warrant, bolted when police tried to stop his SUV because of a burned-out headlight.

Santos, driving a Ford Expedition SUV, began operating erratically while moving north on the Deegan, just past the Willis Avenue Bridge, police said.  Police chased the car for about five miles, Browne said.

Witnesses say the driver was speeding but then became stuck when he smashed into several cars, including an SUV and a sanitation truck. The SUV that was hit was carrying a pregnant woman, who was not hurt, and an 11-year-old boy, officials said.

Santos refused to get out of the car, police said and "drove towards the officers, causing two of them to jump over a divider on the highway to avoid being struck. Two other officers on the highway then discharged their firearms striking the suspect several times," a police statement said.

"I’m not going back to jail" Santos told the passenger in his car, according to the New York Post.

A total of 19 rounds were fired.

The 11-year-old witness, Isaac Reyes, recalled the frightening incident.  "There was a man. He was going. Driving crazy.  The cops were trying to stop him," he said.  "He kept reversing, going forward and reversing.  Then forward," he said.

Martha Melendez was also in the SUV that was struck.   She told those around her to take cover when police opened fire into the car. "There were a lot of shots. A lot," she said.

The Deegan reopened around noon.

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