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Ferndale vehicle chase ends with 1 dead, 3 injured

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 17, 2020



FERNDALE — One person has died and three people were sent to the hospital following a vehicle chase that saw one man arrested by the Ferndale Police Department.

Harris Howard, 26, was arrested by Ferndale police Feb. 14 after he allegedly attempted to flee at a high rate of speed on Eight Mile Road.

According to a Police Department statement, at approximately 9:15 p.m., a Ferndale officer was on patrol near westbound Eight Mile Road when he observed a 2019 black Nissan Pathfinder driving 70 mph in a 40 mph zone. 

The officer activated his emergency lights to stop the vehicle. The driver, who police identified as Howard, appeared at first to be pulling over and turned on his vehicle’s four-way emergency flashers.

Howard, who has an address listed in Florida, allegedly chose not to stop and began driving away from the patrol vehicle, reaching speeds of 70 mph once again, according to police.

The pursuit lasted less than a minute — from Livernois Avenue to Eight Mile Road and Wyoming Street in Royal Oak Township — before Howard crashed his Nissan into another vehicle, police said. 

“(The victims’ vehicle was) driving northbound on Wyoming, crossing Eight Mile on a green light when the vehicle that Howard was driving struck them,” Ferndale Police Sgt. Baron Brown said.

Howard allegedly ran from the scene, but he was soon arrested by a Michigan State Police officer in a nearby residential neighborhood.

“Very quickly after the crash occurred, MSP’s helicopter was overhead and they saw who they suspected was the driver, Howard, walking, and directed officers to his location,” said Brown.

Howard’s vehicle contained a passenger — a 26-year-old Iowa woman. According to police, she suffered serious injuries in the crash and was transported to Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. 

Police said that the vehicle struck by Howard’s Nissan held three older occupants. The driver of the vehicle was a 75-year-old Detroit man, the front seat passenger was an 89-year-old Berkley woman and the rear seat passenger was a 73-year-old Farmington woman.

In a Feb. 17 statement, the Police Department confirmed that the Berkley woman in the crash, Mary Lackamp, was pronounced dead from her injuries at a local hospital at 10:39 a.m. Feb. 17.

“We are heartbroken over the death of Ms. Lackamp,” Ferndale Police Chief Vincent Palazzolo said in a prepared statement. “We hold the driver of the fleeing vehicle 100% responsible for this incident, as he made a conscious decision to flee from our officer, and we feel horribly that his actions resulted in such a tragedy for her family and friends. Something like this has never happened in my 25-year police career, and I don’t take lightly the loss of her life or the pain that her loved ones must be going through. Going forward, the full force of this department will work tirelessly to ensure the man we believe is responsible for her death is properly brought to justice. We will release updates as warranted, but no further comments will be made at this time.”

Police also confirmed Feb. 17 that both the driver of the vehicle that was struck and the passenger of the fleeing vehicle had been released from the hospital. The Farmington woman remained in the hospital as a result of her injuries.

Police stated that they will be submitting this information to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, and pending the issuance of an updated warrant and complaint, no further information would be made available.

Howard had been arraigned Feb. 15 at 43rd District Court on a charge of second-degree fleeing and eluding, and he was given a bond of $250,000 cash or surety. His next court date is scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 24. He did not have an attorney on record with the court as of Feb. 18.