The frantic police pursuit Wednesday afternoon around Southwest Philadelphia of a man sought for questioning in connection with two Delaware murders left more than a trail of damaged cars, minor injuries, and rattled nerves: A 3-year-old boy was also seriously injured when officers crashed their cars on I-95, his mother said.
Meghan Stone-Kirts said that she and four family members — her son, daughter, husband, and brother — had been traveling from their home in Baltimore to New York City to celebrate her daughter’s second birthday, and that they planned to visit the Statue of Liberty and Central Park.
But near Philadelphia International Airport, Stone-Kirts said, a dark car driving on the left shoulder clipped the driver’s side of her vehicle, knocking off her side-view mirror. Shortly thereafter, she said, “five or six” police cars collided with her Chrysler convertible, damaging the car and injuring four of the five people inside.
The accident — the full details of which police did not release Wednesday — is another consequence of the multi-state chase for Dejuan Robinson, 20, who fled from police in Wilmington, then sparked the wreck on I-95 and later crashed his vehicle into a SEPTA bus in South Philadelphia before running away. Several schools were temporarily locked down as a result of the manhunt.
Philadelphia police said Thursday that the search for Robinson was ongoing. He was wanted in Delaware for a probation violation in a gun case, police said, and was a “person of interest” in two murders there, though the details of those cases and his connection to them remained unclear.
Attempts to reach a Wilmington police spokesperson Thursday were unsuccessful. The Wilmington News Journal reported that Robinson in 2017 pleaded guilty to illegal gang participation and a gun crime, and that he also earned an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2015 to escaping from custody.
Stone-Kirts said she believed Robinson’s vehicle was the one that sideswiped her before several police vehicles collided with her sedan.
The Pennsylvania State Police — which has jurisdiction over the highway — said Wednesday that the crash on the highway involved Wilmington and Pennsylvania state police vehicles and that three officers suffered minor injuries. They did not mention any other cars. Wilmington police said the suspect’s car rammed a vehicle to trigger the crash, but did not identify that vehicle.
Stone-Kirts said that her son David suffered brain bleeding as a result of the collision as well as skull fractures, and that he was being treated at the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (A hospital spokesperson declined to comment.)
Stone-Kirts also said that she and her husband suffered broken ribs during that accident, and that her brother was concussed, while her daughter escaped largely unscathed.
Ryan Tarkowski, a Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson, said Thursday that the agency’s regulations concerning car chases were not public, but that “a trooper will pursue a suspect when the risks posed by allowing the suspect to remain at large outweigh the risks of the pursuit.”