Video Raises Questions About Possible Police Chase Before Fatal Inwood Crash

The two victims of last week's crash at the moment of impact.
The two victims of last week's crash at the moment of impact.

Updated | Did a high-speed police chase lead to last week’s fatal crash in Inwood? Police say no.

New video obtained by Streetsblog raises questions about whether cops were chasing a white BMW on Sherman Avenue in the wee hours of Aug. 3, prompting the car’s driver to race through a red light, where he struck another car that then crashed at high speed into two men on the sidewalk.

Both men — 40-year-old David Fernandez and 31-year-old Joel Adames — were killed.

As the video shows, at least four cops arrived at the crash site just 10 seconds after impact. The speed at which they arrived raises two possibilities: they were either chasing the white car or were already on the scene. (Warning: Graphic content.)

After initial publication of this story, a spokesperson for the NYPD, which had initially declined to comment, said, “The investigation revealed that the BMW involved was not being pursuit by any police vehicles. There was a marked police car stopped at that intersection when the collision occurred, which is why the police response was so quick.” The spokesperson did not provide a name.

The video shows the crash from two angles. In the first segment, we see a black car enter from the top right corner and move through the intersection with the light. A second later, a speeding white BMW enters from the left side of the screen and races through the intersection, striking the black car. Both cars end up slamming into the storefront on the top left of the screen. An aftermath photo in the Daily News shows what appears to be a paper plate on the white BMW.

In the second part, the video’s perspective switches. Now we see the crash from the point of view of the victims, who are standing on the northwest corner of Sherman Avenue and W. 207th Street. The moment of impact is at 0:05 in the video.

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The NYPD had said there were still no arrests.

Earlier this summer, Mayor Adams said the NYPD and Sheriff’s office would crack down on “ghost cars,” i.e. cars that have fake plates, and he and NYPD Transportation Bureau Chief Kim Royster encouraged members of the public to call 311 when they see a car with a fraudulent tag. But according to a database of 311 complaints filed since that exhortation, only 120 cars out of 1,112 cars reported have been summonsed.

Sherman Avenue remains a very bad roadway for police to conduct high-speed chases. Since January 2014, there have been 584 reported crashes on the very short stretch of Sherman Avenue between Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue, injuring 15 cyclists, 72 pedestrians and 122 motorists (or 209 people total), city stats show.

This story was updated at 7:40 p.m. to reflect a new comment from the NYPD.