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St. Louis police announce charges in crash that killed 5 people

Marshawn Stepney of St. Louis is facing 17 charges that range from second-degree murder and assault to resisting arrest in connection with the May 6 crash.

ST. LOUIS — An 18-year-old was charged Thursday in connection with a crash on Delmar Boulevard that left five members of a family dead earlier this month.

Marshawn Stepney of St. Louis is facing 17 charges that range from second-degree murder and assault to resisting arrest in connection with the May 6 crash. 

On Friday, police held a press conference where they released further details on the crash and showed surveillance video that captured parts of the incident.

St. Louis Police Lt. John Green with the department's Force Investigation Unit said during the press conference that the events of the night started just before 9 p.m. when the department's Real Time Crime Center received a "hit" from its license plate recognition system. A stolen Jeep Cherokee, which was traveling east on Page Boulevard, was wanted for multiple crimes in multiple jurisdictions.

On the 4200 block of Delmar, the Jeep swerved and struck an Infiniti SUV. The driver who was struck followed the Jeep to try and get a license plate number, and at Delmar and Kingshighway, the passenger of the Jeep fired shots at the Infiniti, police said.

Credit: KSDK
The St. Louis Police Department shows surveillance video of the moments leading up to the shooting that proceeded a fatal crash in St. Louis.

The Jeep then sped away without stopping, according to a probable cause statement from St. Louis police.

It ran over spike strips that had been deployed by police at Delmar just east of N Taylor Avenue. Based on preliminary information, Hayden said this was St. Louis officers' first attempt to engage the suspect vehicle.

Just under two blocks later, the Jeep crashed into a 2010 Kia Sedona that was traveling north on Pendleton Avenue. There were seven people in the Kia.

"At this point in the investigation we have no evidence that our officers were involved in a vehicle pursuit or that spike strips contributed to the crash," Chief John Hayden said. "The evidence at this time points solely at the criminal conduct of the suspects in the Jeep." 

The chief did express how he hopes his department's hard work gives the family some sort of closure. 

"We hope and pray the arrest of the person responsible for their deaths provides some comfort and consolation to those who will miss them the most," Hayden said.  

Four of them died. On Saturday afternoon at his home in St. Ann, Aaron Piggee said the people who were killed included his mother, Anngelique Simmons, 52; his sister, Rhonda Simmons, 34; and two uncles: Ephriam Simmons, 47, and Luther Simmons, 45.

Credit: Aaron Piggee
Pictured (l to r) are Anngelique Simmons, 52; Luther Simmons, 45; Ephriam Simmons, 47; and Rhonda Simmons, 34.

On Saturday, family matriarch Elinor Simmons told 5 On Your Side's Robert Townsend that her granddaughter, 11-year-old Takera Thompson, later died at the hospital from her injuries. Her other two granddaughters, Anniyasha Wallace, 15, and Trinity Thompson, 8, were injured.

RELATED: St. Louis family loses fifth member to crash involving stolen SUV

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said at the scene that the spike strips didn't appear to be responsible for the crash. According to police, a "black box" retrieved from the Jeep showed that it was traveling 82 mph at impact. The tire pressure was 33 psi, within normal range, and steering was stable, police said.

“At this point in the investigation, we have no evidence to suggest that our officers were involved in a vehicular pursuit or that the use of spike strips contributed to the crash. The evidence at this time points solely to the criminal conduct of the suspects in the Jeep," Hayden said.

NAACP leaders held a press conference at the scene of the crash Thursday, calling police pursuits a public safety emergency. The NAACP sent an advisory notice to local police departments, asking to revise their pursuit policy.  

RELATED: St. Louis NAACP leaders are asking police to revise their pursuit policy

"We're looking at policy and whether or not it's adhered to," Hayden said during a public safety meeting with the Board of Aldermen last week. "Of course, we would preach the policy to officers. They have to read it once a month to ensure that everybody's on the same page, but at the same time we want to make sure that people are not only reading the policy, but following the policy." 

Vantage from another security camera in a nearby alley showed a flash of light in the upper left corner, which Green said was a fireball from the crash. The suspect, identified by police as Stepney, was then seen entering the alley and running from the scene.

Stepney's cell phone was found on the Jeep's driver's side floorboard, and he was later taken into custody.

Authorities said the Jeep was reported stolen from Herculaneum on April 3, and was wanted for felony crimes in multiple jurisdictions.

Stepney made his initial appearance in court Friday and was ordered detained on no bond. His seven-day hearing is set for noon on May 27.

Credit: St. Louis Metro PD
Marshawn Stepney's charges include second-degree murder, second-degree assault, armed criminal action, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Tampering with a Vehicle, and Resisting Arrest.

5 On Your Side has requested a full, unredacted version of the surveillance video provided by police.

The full press conference can be watched below:

5 On Your Side’s Christine Byers contributed to this report

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