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Car crash kills homeowner - Teen in stolen auto was fleeing police
[Dorchester, MA]

January 25, 2001
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Car crash kills homeowner - Teen in stolen auto was fleeing police
[Dorchester, MA]

By Jose Martinez
January 24, 2001 Wednesday All Editions
Copyright 2001 Boston Herald Inc.
The Boston Herald
January 24, 2001 Wednesday All Editions

(DORCHESTER, Mass.) -- Moments after eluding a police cruiser, a stolen car with a teenager at the wheel hit a parked minivan, spinning it into the side of a Dorchester house, killing the home's 57-year-old owner yesterday, police and witnesses said.

"It sounded like an explosion. It shook the whole damned house," said Anthony Woodson, who was helping with repairs inside the house at 139 Norwell St.

Wilbur Campbell was found crushed inside the remains of a shed beside the boarded-up home.

Four juveniles tried to flee the wrecked green Honda, which also struck two trees, but were quickly apprehended by Boston police.

Police spokeswoman Mariellen Burns said the 16-year-old driver would be charged with manslaughter and receiving stolen property. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Dorchester District Court juvenile session today.

Woodson said, "We came out of the house and saw the car and the van, then checked to see if he was inside the shed - turned out he was. It's a damned shame. Police were there not too long after."

Some witnesses said they heard cars and sirens roar through the nearby intersection of Harvard and Norwell streets moments before hearing the impact of the 2 p.m. crash, but police said there was no evidence of sirens on the tape of conversations between the first officer on the scene and dispatchers.

According to Burns, a police officer on traffic duty tried to pull the stolen car over on Norwell Street for a motor vehicle violation when it took off.

She said the stolen car first hit a car on Norwell Street. "They hit a civilian car with a woman. The officer pulled alongside to make sure she was OK. The suspect car continued to flee the scene."

Burns said the officer called for help and then arrived on the fatal accident scene after the crash.

"We have spoken with the individuals in the car. Their statements support our understanding there was no chase," said Burns.

The three teen passengers told police they pleaded with the driver to slow down, Burns said.

The Honda, reported stolen in Roxbury Saturday, slipped between a utility pole and a house before losing control in the snow-covered lot next to Campbell's house. The car struck two trees and the van, driving the van through the shed with such force it knocked a hole in the home's concrete foundation.

The brown triple-decker had been condemned last week by the city's Inspectional Services Department, which deemed the home to be unfit for human habitation, Burns said.

Campbell had recently repaired the roof, a neighbor said.

"The city closed it down the other day," said the neighbor, who gave his name only as Tony. "He was trying to get it back up to code. He got the permits. You can see the new roof he did last week."

Campbell had refused the city's offer of help finding temporary housing, pending the completion of repairs to the home, Burns said. Campbell was believed to have been living in the shed outside.

"It's a shame," Tony said. "What a way to go . . . in your own yard."

Laurel J. Sweet contributed to this report.

Full story: Car crash kills homeowner - Teen in stolen auto was fleeing police
[Dorchester, MA]

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