2 killed in crash after chase in Kalamazoo; victims identified

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Two people were killed in an overnight crash after a chase in Kalamazoo.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says they received a 911 call about 11:30 p.m. about a man with a gun in a gray truck in the 1500 block of Washington Avenue.  An officer who was on foot in the area on an unrelated call spotted the suspect and tried to make contact with him, but he sped away, according to police.  Another officer in police vehicle tried to stop the truck less than a minute later on Portage Street near Stockbridge Avenue.

“That officer terminated the traffic stop, however that vehicle continued traveling west on Stockbridge and then northbound on Portage.” Says Sgt. David Morand, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

Police say the suspect then sped northbound on Portage Street at a high rate of speed.

A witness to the crash described hearing a loud crash.

“When I looked up I just seen the car kind of spinning and the truck come to a stop. The car was so smashed up you couldn’t even tell what kind of car it was anymore.”

Officer say they deactivated their emergency lights and slowed down about a block later.  About a half mile later the suspect's truck collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Portage Street and Crosstown Parkway.  The two people in that vehicle, Juan Muniz, 66, and Mary Muniz, 62, of Kalamazoo, were both killed.

The suspect tried to run from police, but was caught a short time later.  He is described as a 56-year-old Kalamazoo resident. He is being held on charges of fleeing and eluding causing death, operating while intoxicated causing death, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting and obstructing police.  The prosecutor's office is reviewing the charges.

K.D.P.S. says there is a lesson to be learned from this tragedy.

“Fleeing and eluding police is a felony for a reason. It has tremendous consequences because there is such a risk. And it’s simply not worth the risk.” Says Morand.

Anyone with further information should call KDPS at 269-337-8994 or Silent Observer at 269-343-2100.

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