Baltimore County, Maryland: 1-Year-Old Boy Dies During Police Car Chase
A vigil was held for Jeremiah Darrin Perry, a 1-year-old who was killed after being struck by a car during a police chase. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore County, Maryland: 1-Year-Old Boy Dies During Police Car Chase

BALTIMORE — A 1-year-old died after a vehicle struck the child Sunday night in northeast Baltimore.

Officials said a series of events led to the death of the child. Police said at about 9:07 p.m., the driver of a Mercedes rear-ended a police car that was along Pulaski Highway following an investigation into a pedestrian who was struck and killed shortly before 7 p.m. in Rosedale. That pedestrian was identified Monday as Randolph Croom, 51.

The driver of the Mercedes fled the scene and Baltimore County police gave chase through Baltimore City.

The Mercedes later hit the back of a Volvo near the 5300 block of Moravia Road. The Volvo jumped a curb and hit the child, who was in a stroller at a bus stop, police said. The 16-month-old boy was identified as Jeremiah Perry.

Paris Savage witnessed the crash.

“It was terrifying. I didn’t know what to think. I was just praying for him, you know, at least make sure the baby’s OK,” witness Paris Savage said. “She was heartbroken, like she just lost her world. She was crying, didn’t want to stand up.”

Jeremiah died at a hospital. The mother and the driver of the Volvo reported no injuries.

At least one county officer pursued the Mercedes into the city, until it turned onto Moravia Road, and allegedly caused the crash that killed the boy. The driver of the Mercedes was then taken into custody and was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

“He was taken out when they caught up with him. They actually jumped on him,” Savage said.

Baltimore County police said an officer at the Pulaski Highway scene got clearance to pursue the Mercedes from a commander, which is in line with the county’s pursuit policy. The department will soon investigate if that commander’s call was the correct one.

“This was nonetheless a very violent incident involving an offender who rammed a police car, sent one of our officers to the hospital and fled,” Baltimore County police spokesperson Elise Armacost said.

Part of the county’s policy is pursuits can happen if the offender has already caused harm or is likely to do so.

The driver of the Mercedes has not been identified, because charges have not been filed.

Loved ones hold candlelight vigil for 1-year-old child

A candlelight vigil for Jeremiah was held Monday evening at the spot where he was killed.

“He was just so happy,” said Tearira Smallwood, Jeremiah’s mother. “My son was only one but I’ll tell you this little boy had a mind of a 5-year-old child. He could spell, his words were very clear.”

Jeremiah’s family now only has memories of a boy who brought so much joy.

“We know that God only, you know, gives us people in our lives for a certain amount of time and he took him on home. He saw fit to take him and that’s where I’m going to leave it. He’s gone. He’s in a better place. He don’t have to suffer down here with us and I’m happy, you know, I’m not happy that’s he gone out of my life, but I know God got him so I’m good,” Jeremiah’s grandmother Crystal Cooper said.

“He was so adorable. I called him my ‘big man,’ you know, because he was big. All you could see is his smile, the beauty in him,” Cooper said.

“I just know for a fact that justice is going to be served,” said Destiny Smallwood, Jeremiah’s aunt. “Jeremiah wasn’t an ordinary 1-year-old. “He had so much in him. He was smiling every day. He was so tough.”

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