Family of Woman Killed After Police Chase ‘Disappointed’ NJ Cops Not Charged
TRENTON — The lawyer for the family of a woman killed after a high-speed pursuit in the city said she was disappointed that the state troopers involved were not charged with a crime.
A grand jury recently indicted the man police had pursued — Chandler Heaviside, 23 — on 15 counts including manslaughter and eluding.
Robin Lord, the attorney for the family of Deja Farrior-Quinones, who was killed after the fleeing Heaviside rammed into her car, said that the family intends to sue State Police.
"I was disappointed there was no presentation to the grand jury about the potential criminal misconduct of the State Police," she said. "If it wasn't for their misconduct, we believe she'd be alive."
The charges against Heavside come after he attempted to get away from police last September. Police said they had given up the pursuit, but Heaviside continued and eventually ran a red light, hitting Farrior's car as she was making a left. Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said Heaviside was high on drugs during the police pursuit after buying drugs in Trenton's West Ward. The impact of his car hitting the woman's forced her car into a utility pole.
One month after the fatal accident, Lord said despite claims that the chase had been called off she has seen evidence to the contrary.
"Police claim the pursuit was called off 1.8 miles before the crash when in fact we have videos showing police clearly pursuing the vehicle with their lights on after their supervisor supposedly called it off."
The state Attorney General’s New Jersey Police Vehicular Pursuit Policy says chases are limited to first or second-degree offenses.
“Deciding whether to pursue a motor vehicle is among the most critical decisions made by law enforcement officers. It is a decision which must be made quickly and under difficult, often unpredictable circumstances,” the policy says.
Lord has said she believes police are "brainwashed" to pursue suspects no matter what.