Lawyer: Pasadena man charged in fatal crash didn't see police behind him
The man accused of running a red light and killing two people in Pasadena as he was fleeing police never knew it was officers in the vehicle behind him, his lawyer said today.
After Darrell Williams, 22, appeared in court on a murder charge, defense attorney F. Freddy Sayegh said his client was followed by a black SUV with no police insignia.
"These were a bunch of kids enjoying their Christmas Day ... when an unmarked black vehicle starts following them for no reason," Sayegh said.
Pasadena police spokesmen were not immediately available for comment this morning.
In public statements, police have said they tried to pull over the Dodge Durango with Williams behind the wheel for a traffic violation about 8 p.m., but the car failed to stop, ran a red light at Marengo Avenue and Maple Street and hit a family's minivan.
A 25-year-old nurse from Glendale, Tracey Ong Tan, was killed along with her 11-year-old cousin, Kendrick Ng. Kendrick's family lives in Daly City near San Francisco, and they were visiting for the holidays.
They were returning from an ice-skating outing when their van was hit.
Williams, who's from Pasadena, and 21-year-old Brittany Washington of Los Angeles, his front-seat passenger, have been charged with murder. Both were being held today on multimillion-dollar bails.
At this morning's court hearing, their arraignment was delayed until Jan. 22. Family members or supporters of both defendants declined to comment outside the courtroom.
Pasadena police have said an FBI agent was in the car with their officer because the FBI was helping with gang enforcement in the wake of a fatal shooting early that day.
The earlier shooting killed Victor McClinton, a beloved coach who authorities say was caught in the line of fire during a gang shooting. Prosecutors said there's no evidence the shooting and the later pursuit of Williams are related.
Sayegh said it didn't make sense for an FBI agent working on gang suppression to pull over a car for running a stop sign.
"There's something just ain't right about this whole thing," he said.
Sayegh said he believes Williams will be exonerated.
Police said one of the people in the car threw out a handgun during the chase, which was later recovered. Sayegh said that was false and his client is not a gang member. The complaint filed by the District Attorney's Office says both Williams and Washington were associated with street gangs.
Williams has multiple convictions for robbery and also has been convicted of false imprisonment and providing alcohol to a minor. Washington has been convicted of driving without a license and of forgery for passing a fake $100 bill.