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Amid calls for police transparency, Richmond Chief won't discuss fatal teen crash: 'Next question'

Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 23:29:47-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said "we will not speak on it" when asked if his office had been able to determine if proper protocol was followed in an officer-involved crash that killed two teenagers in South Richmond.

Smith said the April 7 crash at the intersection of Bells Road and Castlewood Road was still under investigation.

"We will go where the investigation leads us. At the conclusion of the investigation we will turn it over to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office," Smith said.

Problem Solver Melissa Hipolit asked Smith if he had been able to watch the video recorded from the officers' body-worn camera.

"Next question please," the chief responded. "That's my answer. It's going to be the same answer."

Smith said the officers were headed to a code one burglary in progress call. He said they had been authorized to run blue lights and a siren. It was unclear whether the officers had their lights and sirens activated at the time of the crash.

Tracey Williams, 19, and Jeremiah Ruffin, 18, were killed in the April 7 crash. Their families are calling for police transparency into what happened leading up to the crash.

The investigation determined that Ruffin and Williams were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. Both were ejected from the vehicle at the time of the collision.

The two Richmond Police officers who were in their car had injuries that were not considered life-threatening from the incident.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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