A Northern Virginia mother questioned Virginia State Police for a car chase early Sunday that ended in a fiery crash off I-95 that killed her son and his friend.
Curtis Armstead Jr. and Miquel D. Jenkins, both of Fredericksburg, died. Armstead was 24. Jenkins was 23.
A state trooper tried to stop the Dodge Charger Armstead was driving after clocking it speeding 72 mph in a 55 mph zone on the Capital Beltway, police said. Armstead refused to stop, sped south onto I-95 and crashed.
A police dispatcher told a trooper the car’s tags matched those of a stolen car, according to audio of a radio call. The police department later said the dispatcher was wrong but that didn’t play a factor in the pursuit.
The mother of one of the young men asked News4 on Monday why police would chase a driver to his death for going 17 miles over the speed limit.
“Because of that, I don't have my son today. And his friend, his mom, she don't have her son either,” the woman said. She asked News4 not to use her name or show her face.
Police say a trooper spotted the Charger speeding at about 3:45 a.m. Sunday, headed west on I-495 near Eisenhower Avenue. The trooper put on his lights and siren.
“The driver of the Dodge refused to stop and, instead, sped away at a high rate of speed. A pursuit was initiated,” police said in a statement.
The Charger headed south onto I-95 and took Exit 160 for Route 123, still speeding.
Then the driver lost control on the ramp, ran off the side of the road and hit the Jersey wall.
“The vehicle then rode up the cement wall and struck the bottom of the overpass for the I-95 Express Lanes,” police said.
Then the car burst into flames.
Troopers ran to the car and pulled out both men. They each died at the scene.
After the crash, police said they recovered a plastic bag with a white, powdery substance inside. The mother of one of the men said police told her all of her son’s belongings had burned in the fire.
“They told me that there was nothing, that everything had disintegrated,” she said.
Some police departments in the D.C. area have stopped pursuits, citing risks to the subject, police and other drivers.
The pursuit Sunday is under investigation.
Police said troopers may engage in pursuits if the driver doesn’t stop. They should “consider the potential harm to persons and property arising from the pursuit, as well as the potential harm threatened by the escaping offender.”