Crime

Driver of stolen car in fatal Durham crash told police he had used alcohol and drugs

Tomaris Parker
Tomaris Parker

The driver accused of stealing a car, leading police on a chase and causing a crash that killed a 24-year-old woman Thursday night told law enforcement that he had been drinking alcohol and using drugs, according to court documents.

Tomaris Parker, 33, was driving a 2007 Honda Accord on West Club Boulevard in Durham while fleeing from police, according to a search warrant.

An officer “indicated that the (driver) admitted to having earlier consumed or introduced to the body crack cocaine and alcoholic beverages,” the search warrant states.

The Accord had been stolen at gunpoint on Thursday morning, and Parker refused to pull over when officers initiated a stop near the intersection of Elizabeth and Ramseur streets in downtown Durham around 7:45 p.m. Thursday, according to police. The intersection is near the Durham County Health and Human Services building and the under-construction police department headquarters.

The vehicle traveled through the city and caused a collision with two other vehicles – a Chevy Impala and a Hyundai Sonata – in the intersection of Club Boulevard and North Duke Street, just east of Northgate Mall.

The driver of the Hyundai, identified as 24-year-old Brooke Lyn Maynard, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A single mother

Maynard was a detention officer for the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, where she started working in November 2017. She was a recent graduate of the Sheriff’s Office Basic Detention Officer Training Academy, according to a statement from the office.

“The Durham County Sheriff’s Office would like to express their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Brooke Maynard,” the statement said. “Her dedication and hard work in her short time with us will leave a lasting impression on all of her Sheriff’s Office family.”

April Ketner, 39, a friend of Maynard and her family, said Brooke Maynard was a single mother of a 4-year-old girl.

“She was very, very sweet, very kindhearted,” said Ketner, who is from Durham but now lives in the Timberlake community in Person County. “She was very outgoing. She loved all types of people. … Everybody who knew her loved her.”

In 2013, Maynard’s mother was found dead underneath a bridge on Latta Road. Her death was ruled a drowning, Ketner said.

Ketner said the death broke Brooke Maynard’s heart, and Ketner was worried that she would rebel and go down the wrong path.

But she didn’t.

“I think it helped her to want to do better, and stay on track,” Ketner said, adding she thinks that is one of the reasons why Maynard went to work for the Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to her little girl, Maynard leaves behind four brothers and sisters, Ketner said.

“I hate that the fact that someone so sweet was taken by such a senseless act,” she said.

Parker and a passenger in the the stolen Accord were hurt, along with two women in a Chevrolet Impala that the fleeing car hit, police said.

All were transported to the hospital. The two women in the Impala were treated for minor injuries, said police spokeswoman Kammie Michael.

As of Sunday, Parker was being held at the Durham County jail after being charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon. Parker also faces charges related to the car chase – second-degree murder, felony fleeing to elude causing death, felony death by motor vehicle, failure to stop for a red light, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A $300,000 bail was set on the robbery charge, and no bond on the murder and other charges, Michael said.

Police haven’t released the name or updated information about Parker’s passenger.

In 2007, Parker was convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon and speeding to elude arrest from May 2006 offenses, according to the N.C. Department of Correction. He was released in 2014.

Parker was also convicted in 2006 of possession of a firearm by a felon and in 2004 of assault inflicting serious bodily injury for a September 2003 offense.

Police policy on vehicle pursuits

The Police Department’s Traffic Services Unit and Criminal Investigations Division are investigating the pursuit and the robbery, Michael said. Its Professional Standards Division is investigating the pursuit, which is required for all departmental pursuits, she said.

According to the Durham Police Department’s General Orders, officers can engage in a vehicle pursuit when they believe someone has committed a violent felony and “poses a threat of serious injury to the public or other police officers if she/he is not apprehended immediately.”

Pursuits are not allowed when the lead officer pursuing the vehicle feels the hazard created by the pursuit outweighs the necessity of immediate apprehension, or when the officer can identify the suspect and apprehend at a later date and the suspect doesn’t pose a serious threat of injury to the public or police, the policy states.

“An officer’s immediate obligation in a vehicle pursuit is to ensure the safety of the public without duplicating the irresponsible behavior of the fleeing suspect,” the policy states.

The risks that officers need to consider include likelihood of an apprehension and whether the identity of the person is known, the policy states.

Officers are also asked to consider degree of risk, including volume and speed, traffic, population density, pedestrian frequency, whether an area is in a residential or commercial area, and weather hazards.

Supervisors’ responsibilities include assuming command of the response and monitoring information and conditions to determine whether the pursuit should continue or be terminated, the policy states.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges
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