Local News

'He was cool as a cucumber:' Officer surprised Raleigh man killed in police chase fled

Posted November 8, 2018 8:34 p.m. EST
Updated November 8, 2018 10:11 p.m. EST

— The officer who initiated a traffic stop last month was surprised when a Raleigh man fled, leading to a fatal crash, according to dashboard camera video released Thursday.

The video shows the moment police stopped a car driven by Marcus Richardson, 34, after officers ran the tag of the Chevy Impala he was driving and learned the registration was expired.

In the video, two officers approach the car and Richardson tells him that the car does not belong to him and is registered to the mother of his child. He responds with honesty when officers ask to see his license.

“I don’t got no license. I just paid the old tickets that I had,” he said.

The video shows officers getting back into their patrol car to run a search, where they learn that Richardson had two active warrants for his arrest for felony fleeing to elude and resisting an officer.

As the officers talk, a second patrol car approaches. An officer from that vehicle gets out to speak to the first responders.

“Should I get in my car just in case he tries to take off,” the officer standing outside asks.

“You never know,” one of the officers inside the patrol vehicle responds.

Two officers approach Richardson’s car for the second time and ask him to get out of the car. At this point, he speeds off as the two officers rush back to their vehicle to begin a chase.

The officers quickly lose sight of Richardson's Chevy.

“We asked him to step out of the car. He put it in drive and just spun the tires and we were trying to catch up with him for the rest of the time,” one of the officers can be heard telling his captain over the phone.

About a minute later, the officers pull up to a wreck on South Cross Street outside Youngsville, where they find that Richardson has crashed into a van and the Chevy has rolled over.

“Be advised, suspect is trapped under the car,” an officer says.

Richardson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said Richardson lost control of the car and hit a minivan driven by Alexander Castellon, who suffered minor injuries.

“I was about to stop and then he just slammed into me,” Castellon can be heard telling an officer at the scene.

While speaking to his captain, one of the officers who pursued Richardson said his patrol vehicle hit speeds of at least 80 mph. Police said Richardson reached speeds of 100 mph as he headed into Franklin County along a winding two-lane road.

The same officer said he was surprised that Richardson fled from the scene, because he was calm and cooperative when they initially stopped his car.

“It caught me off guard. He was cool as a cucumber and then, when I said to step out of the car, he just [sped off],” the officer says.

Richardson spent six years in federal prison on gun charges and was on house arrest until last week, his mother said in an interview with WRAL News last month. He had regular appointments with his probation officer, so she doesn't understand how he could have had outstanding warrants.

The warrants were in connection with a November incident in which Raleigh police said Richardson similarly fled from them. Officers didn't pursue him then, and merely issued warrants for his arrest.