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Man dead after police chase leads to crash, fire

Posted: 6:20 PM, Apr 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-23 03:18:02Z
Police lights

A family is left picking up the pieces after a car fleeing from police barreled into their home, causing a fire Saturday evening.

Milwaukee Police say the 27-year-old male driver is dead.

It started at 4:45 p.m. Saturday by 40th Street and Auer Avenue.

"Officers observed a vehicle that they believed to be involved in a drug dealing complaint and attempted to stop it," Investigator Jutiki Jackson said.

The driver fled, leading officers on a high speed chase before crashing into a Chevy SUV and a home by 13th Street and Capitol Drive.

The suspect's car caught fire, causing flames to spread through the house.

"The vehicle sheered the gas main to the house creating a very dangerous situation," Battalion Chief Erich Roden said.

Firefighters worked for hours to put out the fire, and a We Energies crew secured the gas line.

"The danger with gas is it accumulates in upper areas of the house. It also rises and and can permeate the neighborhood and surrounding structures so we did have to evacuate the neighbor's house," Roden said.

Jackson said the suspect was going up to 80 miles an hour, speeding away from police.

"Many aspects of a vehicle pursuit are unfortunate and that's never the intention to cause additional harm or anything like that," he said.

Now this incident is prompting more concerns about police chases in Milwaukee.

"Drug dealers, violent offenders operate with a sense of impunity," Jackson said. "We all have to take a stand and decide if we're going to continue to pursue or not."

Jazzmine Salaam's cousin, who was the driver of the car first hit by the suspect had minor injuries.

"She was just going to Walgreens, going to get some medicine and then got hit," Salaam said. "She just said she was driving and then somebody sped across."

Roden said the family who lives in the house, was not home at the time of the crash. Their home has significant damage. There is a GoFundMe set up to help pay for damages.