DETROIT (WJBK) - Two people are dead after leading Michigan State Police on a high speed chase on the west side of Detroit.
It started around 5:40 Friday evening on the Southfield freeway and ended on Ashton just north of Paul in Warrendale when the car slammed into a tree the Chrysler 300 they were driving is now a mangled mess of metal.
State police say troopers tried to stop the vehicle for a seatbelt violation, but the driver was slow to stop
"One of the things the troopers noticed right away was that the driver kept his foot on the brake, had the brake lights on," said Lt. Michael Shaw, Michigan State Police. "So as the troopers got on the PA system, kind of warned them to take their foot off the brake, we want to talk to you real quick, the individual decided to run and took off at a very high rate of speed."
And troopers followed.
Rodrigo Rodriguez lives on Ashton and says both cars hit speeds of more than 100 miles an hour
"It looked like he was chasing them for a while," said Rodriguez. "But as soon as he hit this block he just hit it with everything and gunned it down."
"He comes about a block away from where the troopers are going," Lt. Shaw said. "Goes through the intersection that is right behind me here, strikes a van that had the right of way. The driver of the 300 loses control, strikes a tree so hard that it basically split the vehicle in half."
"It was like a cloud of smoke and it's like oh my God," said one neighbor. "And we (ran) down there and you know, ain't nobody moving."
The people inside the Chrysler were killed instantly. Thankfully no one else was hurt.
"Kids were outside and everything," said another witness. "Luckily they didn't get that close to the house, because the kids were right there, where the 300 is at."
"I don't know how many times we have to say things like this, it's a seatbelt violation," Shaw said. "We have to tell these people's family now that they are dead because one of them didn't have a seatbelt on and one of them decided to run from police.
"Stop for a cop. Just take a second to stop. They would've gotten a ticket and they would've been on their way."
The car is registered in Ohio. Police will conduct a detailed search of the car Saturday. The people have not been identified; fingerprints were run, but unsuccessful.