Trucker Charged with Manslaughter in Deadly Crash During Police Pursuit

What to Know

  • Police in New Jersey started to chase the trucker after his tractor-trailer cab struck a vehicle in Elizabeth.
  • The trucker ran a police barricade, where officers shot and wounded him.
  • The wounded trucker slammed his cab into an oncoming vehicle, killing one and injuring two others.

A trucker who led police on a pursuit that ended in a fatal head-on crash in New Jersey was charged Saturday with manslaughter and vehicular homicide, prosecutors said.

Danny Clyde Burnam, 57, who has addresses in California and Colorado, was chased by police after the tractor-trailer cab he was driving struck a vehicle in Elizabeth around midnight, authorities said. The driver of the vehicle he struck attempted to get Burnam to stop, but he sped away.

An off-duty officer spotted Burnam driving erratically and attempted to stop him. Burnam refused to stop and the officer fired a single shot in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the cab, police said.

Burnam then drove north at a high rate of speed and hit several parked and moving vehicles, police said.

Police set up a barricade at North Broad Street and Parker Road, but Burnam drove through it, investigators said. Officers at the barricade fired several shots at the trucker and he was wounded in the leg, police said.

Roughly a half-mile north of the barricade, Burnam's truck collided head-on with a vehicle, instantly killing a male passenger and injuring two other people, police said.

Police withheld the name of the victim while attempts were made to contact his family.

The two injured individuals were taken to a local hospital, police said. Information about their conditions wasn't available.

Burnam was also hospitalized for injuries that weren’t life-threatening.

He was charged with second-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree vehicular homicide and second-degree aggravated assault. Bail was set at $2 million, according to the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

There was no information available as to whether Burnam had obtained a lawyer who could comment on the charges.

Burnam damaged about a dozen vehicles during the ordeal, police said.

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