Video: Mass. police rescue girl trapped in burning, stolen car that rammed cruisers, injured officers
Body camera video shows a stolen car full of teens totaling one cruiser, reversing into another and running over an officer’s foot before the car burst into flames
By Irene Rotondo
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — “Please, please, please, bro,” a teenager cried as an officer can be seen chasing him through the woods in a video released Wednesday by the Springfield Police Department.
“Where’s your hands? Give me your hands, man,” the officer ordered, as he can be seen grabbing at the teenager’s white shirt through vines. The teen, who police said had been in a sedan that had just T-boned a police cruiser, had hopped two fences and ran into the woods in a Springfield resident’s backyard.
“Please ... I didn’t even want to be in the car, bro,” the teenager sobbed as he was taken to the ground, the footage facing the sky before ending.
The chaotic moments were captured on police body cameras after police said a stolen Hyundai full of teens totaled one police cruiser, reversed into another and ran over an officer’s foot and then burst into flames in September.
At 6:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, officers saw a grey Hyundai sedan on Maple Street that was reported as stolen earlier in the day. The officers stopped the car on Broad Street. Police identified the driver as Daniel Walker, 19, of Springfield, and said there were two 14-year-olds in the car.
During the stop, police said Walker suddenly reversed back into a cruiser with two officers inside.
Footage showed the sedan drive forward quickly and over the foot of the officer who’d been standing at the traffic stop and speed away.
The Hyundai barely missed several pedestrians, including children and bicyclists, and other vehicles as it sped toward the intersection of Morris and Central streets and barreled through the stop sign, police said.
The sedan smashed directly into another cruiser that’d been on its way to help, police said, T-boning and totaling the car. Both officers inside the cruiser were hurt in the crash.
The video audibly and visibly depicted the impact: the camera frame rattled as airbags deployed and the camera became loose, swiveling to show an officer’s face as he braced himself in the crash.
Walker and a 14-year-old boy immediately jumped out of the car and started to run, police said, leaving a 14-year-old girl inside.
Smoke began to pour from the hood of the mangled sedan, the footage showed.
Officer Vicente Gonzalez, who’d just been hit inside the cruiser, and Officer Damarr Duncanson rushed to help her before the car became engulfed in flames.
“There’s somebody in the car ... there’s somebody in the car, in the backseat,” one officer yelled in the footage.
“Get her out, get her out,” a second said in the video’s background, as another opened the back door and bent down. A small limp hand came into view, and the officer scooped the girl up. Police said officers gave her first aid before placing her under arrest.
The officers later received a Life-Saving medal from the department for their actions.
Another officer took off running toward one of the other teens. It took the officer about 20 seconds to chase the teen down the road, into a driveway and over two fences before the officer arrested him in a backyard, the video showed.
“Come here,” the officer ordered loudly as he got to the second fence.
The teenager’s white T-shirt flashed brightly in the woods and he could be heard crying and pleading with the officer in the video, saying he didn’t want to be in the car.
In a different part of the neighborhood, an officer chased another teen. He rounded a tall wooden fence into the forest, stepping over metal pieces, a wooden table and other debris downhill behind homes.
The officer came into a clearing by the road, appearing to look around for the teen. He ran first toward a cruiser, then turned up the street in the other direction and came to a stop on the sidewalk right outside of several houses.
He turned again to run further up the block, and said, “Where at?” in the video before making a quick righthand turn to open a yard’s fence and sprint inside.
“Hey, do not move ... [Redacted] walk towards me right [redacted] now,” the officer screamed. He was focused on a fence toward the back with thick forest behind it.
The officer quickly jumped and stood briefly on top of the fence, hopped down, took out his gun and screamed, “Hey, walk towards me now.” A teen can be seen in the video ahead, although it’s not clear which person it is.
The teen stood completely still as the officer came up to the hill and told him not to move. He didn’t say anything as the officer put the teenager’s red-and-black gloved hands behind his back.
Police said the 14-year-old boy had been arrested on Central Street, near where the crash happened. Walker, the driver, was arrested by Dale Street, police said.
The three injured officers were brought to Baystate Medical Center and released later that evening. The three teenagers were also brought to the hospital and later released.
Walker had three open criminal cases prior to the incident with prior charges in connection with a hit and run in May, a separate stolen Hyundai incident in June and a firearm arrest in August 2022, police said.
He now faces 15 additional charges from the incident in September. These include three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and several other motor vehicle charges.
Tools to specifically steal Hyundais and Kias were found inside the sedan, police said. The names of the 14-year-old girl and boy involved in the case and their charges were not released.