3-year-old girl ‘fighting for her life,’ man arrested after police chase leads to crash near I-85

3-year-old, 4 others hurt in crash during police pursuit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Five people, including a young child, were rushed to the hospital after a serious crash during a police chase near I-85 Wednesday night.

The series of events that led to the crash began on November 17, when CMPD was notified about a man wanted for a felonious assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer in Fayetteville. Fayetteville police say detectives were assaulted while trying to take the suspect, identified as 27-year-old Marcus Alonzo Harris, into custody for prescription fraud. The detectives suffered minor injuries from the assault.

Harris was reportedly driving a white Toyota Camry.

Just before 9:55 p.m. Wednesday, officers spotted the Camry on the inbound lanes of Brookshire Freeway. They attempted to pull the vehicle over, but say Harris wouldn’t stop and a short pursuit ensued.

About one minute into the chase, police say, the Camry caused a collision between two other vehicles, which resulted in serious injuries to several involved. Police say the suspect’s vehicle crashed into the car that the 3-year-old girl was in with her mother and a man.

Three passengers in a Mitsubishi Gallant sustained serious injuries, and the fourth passenger, the 3-year-old, sustained life-threatening injuries.

Each passenger was taken to the hospital. CMPD said the 3-year-old girl remained in critical condition and was “fighting for her life” as of Thursday afternoon. “Please continue to pray for her and her family,” police said.

Officers say the 3-year-old girl and the person in the back seat with her were not restrained.

Immediately following the crash, the Camry caught fire and officers “immediately worked to extinguish the fire, arrest the suspect, and provide aid to those injured in the collision,” CMPD said.

Harris was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Police say the preliminary investigation indicates Harris was driving the Camry recklessly and at a high rate of speed on Brookshire, ran a red light while trying to turn onto I-85 south, and struck the Mitsubishi that was going east on Brookshire.

As part of the continued investigation, warrants have been issued against Harris for Possession of Marijuana, Driving While License Revoked, Felony Flee to Elude Arrest, and three counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury. 

The assault charges are due to the injuries sustained by the three occupants in the Mitsubishi. 

Harris will be served with these warrants once he is released from the hospital.  He was also issued citations for two stop sign violations, an improper lane change, and failure to stop at a steady red traffic light.

As is standard procedure for all vehicle pursuits, an internal investigation will be conducted to ensure the officers’ actions were consistent with the CMPD’s policies and procedures.

Police say officers were not involved in the collision and were maintaining a safe distance behind the suspect vehicle.

Anyone with further information about the case is asked to call Detective Buckley at 704-432-2169.

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