A family of five, including a child, died in a fiery crash after a motorist fleeing police at more than 80 mph ran a red light and slammed into their car, authorities said Wednesday.
Tuesday night's accident was the third this month in which a police chase ended in death."It's unfortunate. It's just unfortunate. The officers out there have a job to do and you just never know what's around the corner," Detective Glenn Taylor said.
Police said they had tentatively identified the badly burned victims but were withholding the names until the Franklin County coroner could verify them. A boy was among the three males and two females killed, Taylor said.
A police cruiser began following the car moments before it collided with the family's auto, authorities said.
"It's wasn't really a chase. The cruiser attempted to pursue, but never really got a chance," said Officer Edward Combs. The driver, Emmett Gabriel, 30, of Columbus, was being sought for speeding, Combs said.
Gabriel was in poor condition this morning at Grant Medical Center where he underwent surgery for facial injuries, a fractured wrist and bruises to the chest, said nursing supervisor Pat Hamrick.
"I think he should be OK," she said.
Police did not immediately file charges, Taylor said.
Witnesses said the force of crash tore the family's car in half, hurled its engine 50 yards down the street and caused the car to burst into flames. Fire drove back people attempting a rescue, witnesses said.
After the collision, the fleeing car skidded north, striking parked cars and a pickup truck.
Two other people were killed in Columbus this month as a result of people trying to get away from police.