Teen suspect leads MSP on chase; 2 killed in crash

Victims identified as Tara Oskam and David Torrez; suspect is Alex Torrez

Authorities are on scene of a crash near the intersection of Broadmoor Avenue SE and 52nd Street in Kentwood on March 11, 2017.


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A police chase involving Michigan State Police ended in a crash that killed two people in Kentwood Saturday night.

It happened near the intersection of 52nd Street and Broadmoor Avenue SE, according to Kent County authorities.

MSP says that around 10 p.m. Saturday, troopers tried to pull a vehicle over in Kentwood. The suspect would not stop and led police on a chase, eventually crashing into a northbound vehicle in the intersection of 52nd and Broadmoor.

The driver of the northbound vehicle, identified as 21-year-old Tara Oskam of Grand Rapids, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say she was a student at Calvin College and was heading back to school when the crash took place.

Undated courtesy photo of Tara Oskam

A passenger in the suspect vehicle was also pronounced dead at the scene. Family members identified him to 24 Hour News 8 on Sunday as 16-year-old David Torrez.

Police say the driver of the suspect vehicle sustained serious injuries, but was in stable condition. Family said he is 16-year-old Alex Torrez, David Torrez’s cousin, and that he does not have a driver’s license.

David Torrez, Alex Torrez
Undated photos of David Torrez (left) and Alex Torrez courtesy Facebook.

Sunday, Alex Torrez’s father told 24 Hour News 8 police had not yet talked to him about the chase or crash. He declined an interview.

MSP says no officers were injured in the crash.

The intersection of 52nd Street and Broadmoor Avenue was closed for a time while police cleaned up and investigated.

It’s not yet known why troopers tried to stop Alex Torrez.

The crash remains under investigation. MSP is expected to hold a press conference regarding the situation on Monday morning.

RADIO TRAFFIC LAYS OUT TIMELINE

According to recorded radio traffic, the trooper called out the traffic stop on the Chrysler 300 as it exited southbound US-131 at 54th Street at 10:12 p.m. Saturday. At 10:13 p.m., the trooper could be heard saying, “It looks like they’re running on me through the red light.”

The chase reached the area where 54th jogs and turns into 52nd at 10:14 p.m. The trooper reported that his cross street was Madison Avenue. Around that time, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department was called to help. A deputy reported that the car flew by him going about 100 mph.

Authorities are on scene of a crash near the intersection of Broadmoor Avenue SE and 52nd Street in Kentwood on March 11, 2017.

The trooper reported the crash and called for more first responders at 10:17 p.m.

That radio traffic indicates the chase spanned nearly seven miles in about five minutes. For that to be possible, the average speed would have had to top 80 mph.

TARGET 8: POLICE CHASES AND DEATHS

In a recent 10-year period, high-speed chases in Michigan injured 2,286 people and killed 134, Target 8 reported in July.

Some West Michigan police agencies have limited the circumstances in which they will pursue a driver in an effort to avoid crashes. In Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Portage, officers won’t chase drivers for minor offenses like traffic violations, instead only pursuing violent felons and drivers who post a threat to the public.

MSP’s policy gives discretion to troopers.

“There are seven questions our troopers have to ask themselves. Questions about traffic, the weather, the reason for the chase, the trooper’s familiarity with the area. If any of those cause them concern, they won’t chase that person,” MSP 1st Lt. Chris McIntire, the commander of the Rockford Post, told Target 8 last year.

**Editor’s Note: Family members previously said Alex Torrez is 17. He is actually 16, but will turn 17 later this month.