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Neighbor says deadly crash could have been prevented, EPD says pursuit met guidelines

Published: Nov. 30, 2017 at 7:33 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 10, 2017 at 2:33 PM CST
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Princess Carter (Source: Facebook)
Princess Carter (Source: Facebook)
Prince Carter (Source: Facebook)
Prince Carter (Source: Facebook)
Fredrick McFarland (Source: Vanderburgh Co. Jail)
Fredrick McFarland (Source: Vanderburgh Co. Jail)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A baby and a toddler were killed after a police chase ended in a crash Wednesday night in Evansville.

Officers say it started around 7 p.m. when a Joint Narcotics Task Force Team investigator did a routine license plate check of a vehicle driven by 26-year-old Fredrick McFarland. It came back as a false plate and that's when they requested an EPD officer.

At one point, McFarland and his passenger walked away from the vehicle at Bayard Park and Evans Avenue, which led police to believe that the car may have been stolen. Police say the two eventually got back into the car and took off, which is when the officer turned on his lights and started to approach the vehicle. That's when the pursuit started, according to police.

For about four minutes, two officers continued the chase until they say McFarland ran a stop sign on Monroe Avenue at Linwood Avenue and crashed into a car with a mom, dad, and their two young children inside.

The crash caused the car to hit a tree, killing 7-month-old Prince Carter and his big sister, 2-year-old Princess Carter. The coroner ruled their deaths as a homicide.

"It's my wife's cousin's grandchildren that were killed in that accident. It cuts like a knife to the soul," one resident told us. "I'm kind of speechless right now because all of this could've been prevented. They should have stopped the chase."

An Evansville man who lives just blocks from where the deadly crash happened shared his concerns about something he believes is a big problem.

"My wife and I always said somebody is going to get hit," said the resident. "We live in a neighborhood. We're not on Main Street. Why did police continue the pursuit?"

He was at the accident scene just moments after it happened.

"This is a community, this is not an interstate," he added. "You should use common sense when you're in a chase or pursuit. Back off."

He told us that even though Wednesday night's deadly crash was a result of a police chase, he said police speed through this neighborhood all the time.

"We see them ride down the street doing 60, 70 mph at times."

Evansville Police answered questions about the chase on Thursday afternoon.

They say all pursuits are dangerous, and this one met their guidelines (you can read EPD's full pursuit policy below this story).

They say the last fatality in police pursuit was in September 2009, and there have been more than 500 chases since then.

[Mayor Winnecke issues statement on deadly crash]

The mother, Janae Carter, is in the hospital with serious injuries. The father, Terrence Barker, has life-threatening injuries.

McFarland is also in the hospital, under police guard. He is conscious and talking to investigators.

He is facing several preliminary charges, including murder and manslaughter.

We're told he had a passenger in the car, but that person ran away.

An investigation is ongoing.

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