ST. LOUIS — An 11-year-old child is the fifth family member to die this week after a tragic Mother’s Day car crash. Surviving relatives said they still have no further answers about the crash investigation and that they feel forgotten.
“They should be here, but they’re not. We’re hoping to get justice,” said Aaron Piggee.
Piggee lost four relatives on May 6, his mom Angelique Simmons, sister Rhonda Simmons and two uncles Ephraim and Luther Simmons. They were T-boned in the minivan they were driving by three people in a stolen Jeep.
A fifth relative of Piggee’s died this week, his 11-year-old niece Takara Thompson.
“Nobody would even imagine thinking of something like that,” Piggee said. “We just try to get through it the best way we can.”
Police caught two teen passengers of the stolen Jeep. The driver escaped.
“My people was not the last car they hit,” Piggee said. “They hit more cars and shot at one as they were in pursuit, but a car going 100 miles per hour? If I was the policeman, I would’ve stopped. I would‘ve stopped chasing. You can always catch them again.”
While the family is convinced a police pursuit led to the tragedy, St. Louis Police are still investigating. This is what Department of Public Safety Director Dan Isom said the day after the crash: “We don’t have any information that the officers were pursuing the vehicle, but they did try to deploy spike strips to stop the vehicle.”
The current St. Louis police pursuit policy is just a few years old, issued in October 2019. It allows for pursuits by both marked and unmarked police cars, with specific criteria and procedures.
“Safety is the overriding concern during vehicular pursuits,” the policy states. “Officers must consider that other officers are responding to assist and that unaware populations are both drivers and pedestrians along the route.”
The policy also states that “…marked vehicles should engage in vehicular pursuits, with emergency lights and sirens activated. Unmarked vehicles should only engage in vehicular pursuits in exigent circumstances, with emergency lights and sirens activated and only until the first unmarked vehicle arrives in the area.”
We’ve requested responses from both the police department and the mayor’s office about the crash and the resulting investigation.
Piggee said he’s also waiting for at least an acknowledgment that police are looking into it.
“If they’re going at a certain speed, you know you can’t stop them, and it’s going to put other people in danger, then why keep pursuing to chase them? Because you never know who’s life is going to get taken,” Piggee said.