BERKELEY, Mo. – The Berkeley community wants answers from St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol after two men died in an accident that the community said was a result of a police pursuit.
The families of the deceased have been left to wonder what happened and police wondering why anyone thinks they chased a vehicle.
Around 9:30 p.m. Friday, a car crashed on westbound Airport Road at Tyndall Drive. Two men died in the accident after running off the road and hitting a tree. They were identified as 59-year-old Townsal Woolfolk and 49-year-old Mikel Neil.
Neil’s family, friends, community members, and the Universal African People’s Organization held a news conference Thursday claiming St. Louis County police caused the accident, adding they hadn’t been getting any answers from state police.
“Did they violate policies for St. Louis County on chases? We understand there is an ongoing investigation,” said Zaki Baruti, Universal African People’s Organization.
Officer Shawn McGuire, a spokesman for the county police, said there was never a chase. Their officers saw a suspect blow through a red light near the Ferguson-Berkley border.
“They couldn’t see the type of vehicle or color so they didn’t put it on the radio," McGuire said. "They lost sight of the vehicle, turned off emergency lights, and proceeded to look for the vehicle but were unable to find it."
But the family of Mikel Neil said it wants to see video from any cameras that may have recorded a possible chase and or the crash once they have been obtained by police
“Will (the state police) allow families and their legal representatives to see the videos?” Baruti said.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said it hasn’t received any video yet, but they will.
State police have asked anyone who was a witness to come forward.
The family claimed police drove by the accident and didn’t stop. St. Louis County police said that's not what happened; they’re first responders.
“Where that crash happened there is a big turn in the roadway at night,” McGuire said. “Those officers said they didn’t see it.”
The Universal African People’s Organization wants state police to reach out to the families of Neil and Woolfolk to keep them up to date on the investigation.
A spokesperson for the MSHP said if any family member has a question, they’re welcome to contact their office.