05/31/2007

Penn. police cruiser collision leaves child dead

The Associated Press

ALLENTOWN — Two marked police cruisers responding to a call crashed Wednesday night, then careened into pedestrians and killed a 4-year-old boy, police said.

Daviay Lagrand, 4, was walking with his mother when he was killed, the boy's great-grandmother, Ruby Peoples, and great-aunt, Cheryl Burton told The Morning Call of Allentown.

Allentown Police Chief Roger MacLean told the newspaper that officers were responding to a report of a man with a gun.

The cruisers collided at Seventh and Chew Streets, and one spun onto the curb and into pedestrians. The child was killed and an adult male was injured, but not critically, Lt. Daryl Hendricks told The Express-Times of Easton.

The scene became chaotic with some bottles and rocks thrown at police, Hendricks said.

"This is straight up all the Allentown Police Department's fault," said Christina Smith of Allentown, who said she witnessed the crash.

MacLean did not identify the officers involved and said they were sent to the Allentown police station. He said state police were called to investigate the accident and did not estimate when more specifics about the crash would be released.

Hendricks said several local clergy members helped to try to maintain order and that Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin was also involved in the investigation.

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