Injured bystander questions high-speed pursuit that ended at Lambert Airport

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BRIDGETON, MO (KTVI) – A police chase ended with the suspect's vehicle crashing into an innocent bystander's car.  Two young children were critically injured.

The collision happened near St. Louis lambert international airport tying up traffic for hours to terminal two.

The suspects are juveniles, two 16-year-old boys and a 15-year-old girl traveling in a vehicle police say was stolen.  They crashed into the car of a family leaving the airport.

Two women in the front seat of the car struck by the stolen SUV were injured.  One of them critically, and the two children in the back seat, 2 boys were critically injured.

Police say the SUV was stolen and a Normandy police officer tried to pull it over for a traffic violation.  The officer determined the vehicle was stolen and initiated the pursuit.  The crash resulted in the three suspects taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  They will be detained as juveniles.  St. Louis County Police are handling the investigation.

Police recovered what they call a replica gun from the stolen vehicle.  The vehicle was taken in a carjacking in St. Louis.

Brittany Lee survived the crash and was released from an area hospital Tuesday night.  She told FOX 2 the crash happened in the blink of an eye.

“I looked over and a silver SUV coming at us at high speed, probably 80 or 90 miles per hour, and just there’s nothing you could do at that point,” said Lee.

She was a front seat passenger.  The SUV crashed into the driver the side of the vehicle.  Lee said her sister-in-law has driving and has internal bleeding and serious injuries to her pelvis.  Lee’s two nephews suffered critical injuries.  Caleb, 9, and Evan, 5, remain hospitalized.  Evan was stable but Caleb’s injuries were considered life-threatening.

“If you can just keep my family and Caleb especially in your prayers, it will give him a lot of strength,” said Lee.  “He’s a really brave kid but prayers really help.”

Lee said the family was returning from a once in a lifetime trip to Disneyworld.  She hopes others will appreciate every minute they have with loved ones.

“Don’t take anything for granted because you know life can change in the blink of an eye,” said Lee.

She wonders whether police should have been pursuing the stolen vehicle in an area as busy as the airport and feel it was a poor decision.   Lee and her family hope the suspects are held accountable.

Fox 2 spoke with another relative of the victims, and she says they are just trying process this horrible situation right now and released the following statement.

Statement from the family:

Please cherish every moment with your loved ones.

We just returned from our first ever family vacation. My two nephews (Caleb-9 and Evan-5) were living life to the fullest and experiencing things for the first time. The first time they rode on a plane, first time they saw the ocean, and first time they went to Disney World. They were loving life. Then in just a blink of an eye our entire family’s lives were destroyed. We left the airport in two cars. Candice, Brittany, Evan, and Caleb were all in one car together. As they left the terminal pick-up, before even getting out of the airport, they were blind-sided by a stolen car involved in a high-speed police pursuit. Candice, Evan, and Brittany are all at the hospital with serious injuries. Caleb is in the Pediatric ICU in critical condition with extreme swelling on his brain. Our family asks for prayers for him to pull through.

As with most criminal offenses, there is no one to be held financially responsible. We ask for any donation possible to help with the family’s medical/accident expenses. Financial aftermath of this tragedy is the last thing our family is thinking about right now- but the expenses will continue to grow.

Thank you for thinking of our family during this time. Every prayer and donation is greatly appreciated.

A GoFundMe page has set-up to help the family.