Woman dies after crash with driver accused of fleeing Ferndale cops

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A driver accused of leading Ferndale police on a chase last week is facing more charges after an 89-year-old woman injured in a car he allegedly struck has died, investigators announced Monday.

"As part of this open and active investigation, we will be submitting this new information to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office," police said in a statement.

Harris Howard, who has a Florida address, was arraigned Saturday.

Harris Howard, who was arraigned Saturday in 43rd District Court on charges of second-degree fleeing and eluding, remains in the Oakland County Jail, records show.

The 26-year-old is accused of driving away from a Ferndale police officer who tried to pull him over at about 9:15 p.m. Friday near Eight Mile for driving more than 30 mph above the speed limit.

While fleeing, his 2019 Nissan Pathfinder collided with another vehicle near Wyoming, investigators said in a statement. Howard ran but was quickly arrested by a Michigan State Police trooper a short distance away, according to police.

Three people in the vehicle that was struck were injured and transported to Ascension Providence Hospital in Southfield.

One of the passengers, identified as Mary Lackamp, was pronounced dead at 10:39 a.m. Monday, police reported.

"We are heartbroken over the death of Ms. Lackamp. We hold the driver of the fleeing vehicle one-hundred percent responsible for this incident as he made a conscious decision to flee from our officer and we feel horribly that his actions resulted in such a tragedy for her family and friends," police Chief Vincent Palazzolo said. 

"Something like this has never happened in my 25-year police career and I don’t take lightly the loss of her life or the pain that her loved ones must be going through. Going forward, the full force of this department will work tirelessly to ensure the man we believe is responsible for her death is properly brought to justice. We will release updates as warranted but no further comments will be made at this time."

One other passenger remained in the hospital Monday, according to the release.

A passenger in Howard's car, identified as a 26-year-old woman from Iowa, suffered serious injuries in the crash and was transported to Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. Other details were not released.