ST. LOUIS – Investigators found a handgun and suspected narcotics on a driver who was the center of a six-vehicle crash late Monday morning.
Police now say that driver, 29-year-old Silas Smith, has died from his injuries suffered during that wreck.
The crash happened at Taylor and North Broadway. A man in one of the crashed vehicles told FOX 2 that police were after a white Dodge, which caught fire after the crash with the driver being ejected through his windshield, around 11:30 a.m.
The Dodge was southbound on Broadway near Taylor, just north of Interstate 70, and clipped a vehicle coming the other way, the other driver said, setting off a chain-reaction crash on the northbound side of Broadway. A total of three cars—two SUVs and an electric utility truck—were involved in the crash.
Members of the SWAT team first noticed the suspect’s vehicle at the Speedy Gas station in the Baden neighborhood. Officers noticed he was parked at a gas pump with the gas tank on the opposite side of the car. The vehicle had dark-tinted windows and a dark-tinted plate cover over a temporary tag.
When officers passed the gas station a second time, police said the driver sped off and they attempted to stop him.
Police said the driver pulled over then immediately sped off on Broadway. Officers put down strike strips but the suspect continued speeding down Broadway. Police did not pursue the vehicle but instead called in air support to locate the vehicle.
The driver kept speeding and drove through a red light at Broadway and Taylor, hitting five other vehicles.
Morgan Greene saw the speeding Dodge while he was at work. Police followed at a distance, he said.
“You just saw a glimpse of him (the driver of the Dodge),” Greene said. “He was going just about as fast as he possibly down Broadway. Not too long after, we heard it. We heard the accident. We didn’t even hear brakes squeal. We didn’t hear any screeching. You just heard an impact.”
The suspect was hospitalized and listed in critical condition. The injuries to the other drivers were not life-threatening, police said.
There were no police officers involved in the crash and none were hurt.