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Police chief: Probe into officer-involved crash that killed teens is in 'final stages'

 Bells and Castlewood roads fatal crash
Posted at 7:26 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-23 14:00:28-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The investigation into the officer-involved wreck that killed a 19-year-old woman and her 18-year-old driver is in its final stages, according to Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith.

The police department released a statement via email at 6:45 p.m. Friday saying the "full investigation" would be turned over to the Commonwealth's Attorney for "review and next steps" once it was completed.

The Richmond Police Department extends its thoughts and prayers to the families of Jeremiah Ruffin and Tracey Williams. No one wants to lose a child, so at this time we ask that our Richmond community continue to pray for and comfort the Hill, Ruffin and Williams families with us as they continue deal with the loss of their loved ones.

As I stated when the accident occurred, we will follow wherever the investigation leads us. We want our community to know we are entering the final stages of the investigation surrounding the circumstances and causes of the tragic fatal collision that occurred on April 7. Once concluded, the full investigation will be turned over to the Commonwealth Attorney for review and next steps.

Again, we are saddened by the loss of life and will continue to do what we can as an agency to support these grieving families.
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith statement Friday, April 22
 Bells and Castlewood roads fatal crash
A woman was killed and a man was critically injured in a crash involving Richmond Police Thursday, April 7, 2022.

According to Richmond Police, 19-year-old Tracey Williams was killed following a crash at the intersection of Bells Road and Castlewood Road. The crash involved a vehicle with two police officers in a cruiser and a Buick with Williams and her 18-year-old boyfriend Jeremiah Ruffin behind the wheel.

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. Ruffin died from his injuries nearly two weeks after the wreck.

The two RPD officers who were in their car had injuries that were not considered life-threatening injuries.

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.

“Right now we believe they may have but we cannot say definitely that their blue lights and sirens were on they had authorization we have some clues that could have been the case,” Smith previously said.

Family calls for transparency after losing daughter in Richmond crash: 'She was my heart'

Family calls for transparency after losing daughter in crash

The family of 19-year-old Tracey Williams called for transparency in the investigation of the crash, earlier this month.

The couple were delivering for Door Dash, according to their parents.

Tiara Williams said her heart dropped when her daughter's best friend called her and told her she hadn’t heard from Tracey. She said it wasn’t like Tracey to not pick up the phone for her best friend.

“That kind of made me panic then I heard about the story about the crash and put two and two together. Then I knew it was her crash,” she said.

The family wants to see any dashcam or body cam related to the crash. They said they are struggling to understand how officers did not see them. They said they are calling the police for answers and nobody is picking up.

They also don’t know which vehicle had a green light and which had a red light.

“She was kind, loving, everyone who knew her loved her. She was sweet she had no beef with nobody,” said Williams. "She was my heart, losing her. I don’t know what now,” said Williams.

Williams said the situation is made more tragic by the fact that Tracey is the half-sister of Xzavier Hill.

Hill was shot and killed by state police last year following a pursuit on I-64. A grand jury declared that the shooting was justified.

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