Crash with Suspect's SUV Kills Philly Officer

By: AP
By: AP

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A 16-year-old in a stolen vehicle smashed into a police car during a chase, killing one of two officers in the cruiser, authorities said Saturday.

Andre Butler was charged Saturday with third-degree murder and vehicular homicide in the death of Officer Isabel Nazario, 40.

Butler also faces aggravated assault charges stemming from injuries to Nazario's partner, Terry Tull, who was driving the cruiser and suffered broken ribs and a broken hip. Tull remained in stable condition Saturday, according to a nursing supervisor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Butler, who was charged as an adult, initially fled the Friday night crash on foot but was captured a short time later, according to police. He was treated for minor injuries at a hospital.

Police said Butler prompted the chase by running a red light in a stolen Cadillac Escalade and not stopping for officers. He did not have a driver's license, police said.

Police initially told The Philadelphia Inquirer that they believed a drunk teenager was responsible for the crash. But a police spokeswoman said Saturday afternoon that the suspect was not being charged Saturday with DUI.

In northern New Jersey, a police cruiser struck another vehicle and then hit a utility pole in Nutley Saturday morning, killing one officer and leaving another seriously injured.

The officers, from neighboring Belleville, were responding to a suspicious persons call, Essex County Prosecutor Paula T. Dow said.

Officer Kenneth Santucci, who was driving, and Officer Melissa Corrado were both ejected from the cruiser, Dow said.

Santucci, 33, was taken to Clara Maass Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Corrado, 28, sustained serious head injuries and was taken to University Hospital in Newark. Dow said her injuries were not considered life-threatening.

The driver of the other vehicle, identified only as a 51-year-old woman from Bloomfield, was treated at an area hospital and released.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation. It was unclear whether the officers were wearing seat belts.

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