Local News

Two killed in collision with Raleigh police cruiser

Posted June 5, 2013 5:10 a.m. EDT
Updated June 5, 2013 11:06 p.m. EDT

— Police say a man driving a stolen motor scooter crossed the center line in northeast Raleigh early Wednesday, killing himself and a passenger after they collided with an oncoming police cruiser.

According to a police report, Maurice Antonio Harden, 20, of 3947 Patriot Ridge Court, was traveling east on Skycrest Drive near Hill Street shortly after 3 a.m. when he veered into oncoming traffic, hitting officer Jonathan Crews, who was attempting to stop a speeding car.

Crews crested a hill but was unable to avoid the scooter, according to the report.

Harden, who authorities suspect had been drinking, was traveling 53 mph in a 35 mph zone, while Crews was traveling 77 mph.

Harden and Trindell Devon Thomas, 21, of 2712 Landis St., were thrown from the scooter and died at the scene. Crews suffered minor injuries.

The front end of Crews' police car was damaged, and the scooter had to be pulled out from under the front of the car.

At the time of the collision, another officer had been trying to catch up to the scooter after noticing a malfunctioning headlamp, police said, but neither officer had initiated a pursuit of the vehicles they were following.

Later in the day, family and friends came to the spot where the two men died to see it for themselves. Some left flowers.

Carl Maynor, Thomas' stepfather, said he didn't know Hardin or why his stepson was out with him before dawn.

"We're in shock," he said. "You wake up and your whole life changes. We lost somebody. There's no words for how I feel, and his mom."

Maynor described his stepson as outgoing and a great basketball player. Thomas also became a father a week ago.

"He was just finding himself," another family member said, "He was getting his life together."

Maynor said the family wants more information from the police about what happened.

"They're still doing investigations, so we're going to try to get everything together and go from there," he said.

Harden's family declined to comment Wednesday.

Most people in the neighborhood were sleeping when the crash happened but said there have been several wrecks in the same area and that it's not uncommon for police to patrol the area.

"Police cars, every once in a while, do patrol this area, because people tend to come down the long hill fast," neighbor Cliff Vaughan said. "So they'll set up radar every once in a while"

According to Raleigh police, Crews, 27, works in the Field Operations division and was hired in July 2009.

Court records indicate Harden was convicted in 2011 of receiving a stolen vehicle and served 90 days in prison.