Police say two teenagers in a stolen van led officers on a chase before crashing in Yonkers and killing another driver, and surveillance video obtained exclusively by NBC 4 New York shows how fast the vehicles were going before the deadly crash.
Yonkers police said Tuesday a 16-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl were in a stolen 1997 Dodge Ram when it swerved into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on into a sedan at around 4:15 p.m. Monday, killing 46-year-old Sharlene Stinson.
"They were both going well over 90 miles an hour, so definitely speeding, beyond speeding," witness Raymond Medina said of the van and the police vehicle. "I drive, and they were going at least 90 mph."
Medina also heard the crash on Warburton Avenue.
"Once they passed us, we knew that they weren't going to make that turn," he said. "I'm from this neighborhood, I knew they weren't going to make that turn. Then we heard the bang and rushed over there, and it was a horrible scene."
Stinson, who was on her way home from work at the Ferncliff Manor, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two teens were critically injured. No charges have been filed.
Police say officers began chasing the van after receiving a 911 call reporting the occupants may have been breaking into parking meters.
They say the van's driver wouldn't pull over and led police on a pursuit. Investigators say surveillance video shows the van driving on the wrong side of the road.
The speed limit in the area where the surveillance video was taken is 30 mph. Medina said the path of the pursuit is lined with schools, and he wondered whether police needed to pursue the suspects at such a high rate of speed.
"Five-thirty in the afternoon, they passed several schools. I know the cop was doing his job, but from my understanding he crashed as well," he said. "He crashed because he gave himself no distance. He was one car-length at 90 mph behind that van."
It's not clear if the van and police car were actually going 90 mph, or how quickly they were actually going. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano deferred questions about police pursuit protocols to the police commissioner. Police only said Tuesday the investigation is still in its early stages.
Meanwhile, family and co-workers are mourning the loss of Stinson, a mother of a young boy and an educator. She worked as an occupational therapist since 2007, helping children achieve their life goals.
She was "a role model in every single way you can be in education," said co-worker Matt Rubenstein.