Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gary driver says he told police about injured crash victims

September 16, 2007 - The families of two teenagers whose bodies were not found at the scene of a crash in Gary until hours after the accident want to know how that could have happened. The driver, who survived, says he believes police left his friends to die.
Darius Moore, the driver of the car, says police failed to do their job when they did not search for his friends in a nearby ravine after their vehicle crashed. He also says that because of that, his friends were fatally injured in the accident.
The families of the teens killed and those injured have remained outraged. Through their grief they all have one question: How did police and paramedics not see Brandon Smith and his best friend Dominique Green? They were two of four people in a car when it rolled off Chase Road and into a wooded area in Gary.
"I tried to tell the police what was going on. I guess they didn't take me seriously. Those were my best friends, and my life will never be the same without them," said Moore, who has been released from the hospital.
The teen also said that, maybe, if police had believed him, his friends would be alive.
"I told the police over and over they were down there. They were trying to tell me that was everybody when I helped me and my friend out of the hole," Moore said. "I said they had only found two. But, they said there was nobody else down there. I said, 'They are down there. They were in the car with us.'"
ABC7 Chicago attempted to reach Gary police for comment, but, so far, there has been no official response from the department. The city's mayor, Rudy Clay, defended the police Sunday, telling ABC7 that it was too early to know exactly what happened on the night of the crash.
"As soon as all the facts are in, we'll present it to the community. We have some good police in Gary, Indiana, probably some of the best police anywhere in the country. So, it will be handled," Clay said.
The accident happened early Saturday morning around 2:30 while Moore and three of his best friends returned home from a party.
"A tire blew out. The car kept going straight, and it went over the middle section and we were going toward the railing, and I knew we were going to go over in there. I believe I either passed out or I blanked out, but I could feel the car turning and turning," the teen said.
Moore said he somehow found the strength to flee himself, pull one of his friends, Deandre Anderson, to safety and flag down someone for help. He says that when he told responding police officers about the other two victims, Smith and Green, they told him no one else was involved in the accident.
Gary Police say they were notified of the accident at 3:10 Saturday morning. They responded and helped transport two people to the hospital. They say one of the crash survivors told them he thought he had already dropped off Smith and Green. Police also say an officer searched the scene, they removed the car and did not find any sign that there were any more than two victims.
More than six hours after the crash, at 9:27 a.m., the coroner was called because Brandon Smith's father took it upon himself to go to the crash scene. Family members found Smith's and Green's bodies in the wooded area. According to the coroner, both had been ejected from the vehicle and died of multiple blunt force trauma.
The families involved say proper procedures obviously were not followed. Brandon Smith's father, Arthur, had this message for authorities:
"It's a disgrace how we have to be tormented because you as a city can't say, 'We made a mistake.' We've got to suffer with these insults and innuendos as far as what happened," he said. "Talk to me. I won't bite anybody. [We've gotten] no response from nobody."
Deandre Anderson, the fourth passenger who survived, was still hospitalized Sunday evening and will need surgery early Monday.
"He has two broken bones in his spine," said Angela McDuffy, the survivor's mother. "His right hand is fractured. He has a punctured liver."
Grief counselors are expected to be on hand at the school the teens attended during the coming week. Funeral arrangements are pending are for the boys that died.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Parents Say Cops Overlooked Dying Indiana Teens

(Darius Moore, 18, was driving and says he went for help
after the crash and wants to know why police didn't find two friends who died.)
(AP) GARY, Ind. The parents of two high school seniors who died in a car crash say their sons were left near the road for hours after police overlooked them while investigating the accident.

Arthur Smith found the body of his son, Brandon Smith, and friend Dominique Green, both 18, on Saturday in some brush about six hours after the crash, which injured two others. The father said he had gone to the crash site to look for clues that might have explained where his son went, but instead discovered the

"It took me all of five minutes to find the boys dead," Smith said. "They were right there, I didn't look under anything. I just seen my son, I seen my baby."

"You can't bring them back, but you sure can give me an explanation," the father said.

The deaths of Smith and Green in the single-vehicle crash early Saturday were "essentially" instantaneous, the Lake County coroner's office said.

Darius Moore, 17, who was injured in the crash, said he told officers "over and over" that his friends were missing after the car flipped and smashed through a guard rail before settling into a ditch.

"They left them out there to die, that's how I feel about it. I don't think nobody ever searched for them," Moore said while at home recovering from his injuries Monday.

Police officials said that officers searched the site.

"They even had the car lifted and looked underneath the vehicle to see if the bodies had been there," police Cmdr. Sam Roberts said. "Finding none, the accident report at that time was completed, and the area was cleared and the vehicle towed."

Jacquelyn Green said she is not blaming anyone for her son's death.

Mourners held a vigil at the accident scene during the weekend. Mayor Rudy Clay also stopped by the crash scene to offer condolences, but he referred all inquiries to Police Chief Thomas Houston.

The other injured teen, DeAndre Anderson, was taken to a Gary hospital, but information on his condition was not available Monday.