YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A high-speed police pursuit of two Brooklyn men ended abruptly in Yorktown last week when the minivan in which they were traveling crashed into some trees as they tried to leave the Taconic State Parkway at Underhill Avenue.
The falling trees damaged a Westchester County police cruiser after landing on the car as an officer pulled up to the scene. The windshield was shattered but the officer was not injured, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety said.
The Brooklyn men, riding in a van with stolen license plates, police said, reached speeds of up to 100 mph in their attempt to evade capture. The pursuit began around 11 p.m. July 3 when an officer tried to pull over the northbound Honda Odyssey on the Taconic in New Castle. The van’s driver not only accelerated, police said, but also turned off his headlights.
Leaving the parkway in Yorktown, the van, out of control, hit several trees near the bottom of the Underhill Avenue exit ramp. After the van came to a stop in “some dense underbrush,” police said, the Brooklyn men climbed out and tried to run but were taken into custody.
The driver, Francisco Torres, 47, was charged with first-degree fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, both felonies, as well as misdemeanor charges of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree reckless endangerment, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. The drug charge stems from a “small amount” of heroin that was found in the vehicle, police said.
Police said the passenger, Luis Ramos, 47, gave officers a false name following his arrest, leading to a charge of false personation, along with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors.
Ramos, complaining of chest pain from injuries suffered in the crash, was taken by the Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. Released the next day, he was booked at Westchester County Police headquarters then turned over to New York City authorities on an active arrest warrant, police said.
Torres, arraigned at Yorktown Justice Court, was held without bail at the Westchester County Jail.
The Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene and assisted county officers in removing the fallen tree from atop the patrol car.