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One of two cousins killed in Spring Garden police chase was wanted fugitive
TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE:
The York County Coroner's Office has determined cause of death for cousins Brandon and Elijah Moultrey.
Brandon Moultrey, 22, died of blunt-force head trauma and Elijah Moultrey, 19, died of multiple blunt-force trauma, according to the coroner's office, which has ruled the deaths accidental.
The determinations were released late Tuesday morning following autopsies on the men's bodies at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.
One of two York City cousins killed in a crash while fleeing Spring Garden Township Police was a wanted fugitive who failed to surrender himself at York County Prison more than a month ago, according to court records.
Brandon Lamar Moultrey, 22, of the 300 block of West Philadelphia Street, was supposed to report to prison Oct. 6 to begin serving a 1-1/2- to three-year sentence for possession with intent to deliver heroin, records state.
But he failed to show, and three days later a bench warrant was issued for his arrest, according to court records. He also was wanted on a state parole violation, officials said.
He and his 19-year-old cousin, Elijah Juan Moultrey, of the 400 block of East King Street, died from injuries they suffered when the Buick LeSabre they were in crashed into a garage to the rear of the 1300 block of Second Avenue in the township, according to the York County Coroner's Office.
4 in car: Elijah Moultrey was pronounced dead at the scene, and his cousin was pronounced dead about 8:30 p.m. Sunday at York Hospital, the coroner's office said. Autopsies on the men are set for Tuesday at Allentown's Lehigh Valley Hospital.
Two others in the car suffered injuries, according to state police Cpl. Jeffrey Godboldte, lead investigator into the police pursuit and crash.
Shazmir Martino, 19, and Brandon Smallwood, 17, both of York, are expected to recover, he said. Their conditions could not be obtained from York Hospital.
Godboldte said it appears Smallwood was thrown from the fleeing Buick LeSabre when it crashed. He said none of the four people inside were wearing a seat belt.
The corporal also said it's not yet been determined who was driving the Buick.
"I'm looking for a witness who can put somebody behind the wheel," Godboldte said.
Started at school: Two Spring Garden Township officers were called to the grounds of Suburban High School shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday for an assault, township Police Chief George Swartz said.
"At this point we believe there may be two victims," the chief said. He was unable to provide an extent of injuries Monday afternoon, saying officers still needed to talk to the assault victims.
The officers were gathering information on the school grounds when someone pointed out a Buick LeSabre to the officers and said the attackers were in that car, according to Swartz. The officers, whose names have not yet been released, gave chase, he said.
The pursuit, which is believed to have been at high speeds, started on Hollywood Boulevard at the Lancaster Avenue intersection, according to Godboldte. At that intersection is a back entrance to Queensgate shopping center.
"(The officers) were trying to get them stopped so they could talk to them about the assault," Godboldte said, but the LeSabre took off.
It headed north on Hollywood, continued onto Hill Street and bore left at Harrison Street, where it struck a curb and overturned, according to a state police news release. That's a distance of 1.8 miles.
Collapsed: After flipping over, the car struck a garage to the rear of the 1300 block of Second Avenue, causing the garage to collapse entirely. Godboldte said state police are doing a full accident reconstruction, which is a lengthy process.
Hany Bebawi, 42, owns the property, and he and his family live in the home there.
No one was home when the crash happened. A neighbor called Bebawi a few minutes later and he rushed home, he said.
"Sometimes my kids play inside my garage," he said, expressing relief they weren't hurt. "I'm lucky."
Lost everything: Bebawi said he lost everything inside, including a snow blower, lawn mower, leaf blower, furniture, tools and other items. He is insured, he said.
Family members of the Moultrey cousins were at the site on Monday morning, but declined comment.
Swartz said the two officers involved in the pursuit have been placed on administrative leave, which is his department's standard policy. That's to give the officers time to process what they witnessed, he said.
Swartz said he expects both will return to duty quickly.
State police said they were asked to conduct an independent investigation into the incident by Spring Garden Township Police.
Criminal records: Both Brandon and Elijah Moultrey have criminal records.
Brandon Moultrey pleaded no contest in January 2013 to a drug-dealing charge and was sentenced to 1-1/2 to three years in state prison, according to court records.
On Dec. 29 he was arrested by Northern York County Regional Police at the Motel 6 on Arsenal Road in Manchester Township and charged with heroin possession with intent to deliver, according to charging documents.
Police said he had hidden heroin in the top tank of the motel room's toilet, as well as in a mixer in the room's entertainment system, documents state.
Brandon Moultrey pleaded guilty Sept. 30 to the charge and again was sentenced to 1-1/2 to three years in prison, records state.
A warrant for his arrest was issued after he didn't show up at prison Oct. 6, as he'd been ordered to by his trial judge, according to county records, which state he also was wanted on a state parole violation.
Elijah Moultrey pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to drug possession with intent to deliver and was sentenced to six months in prison followed by two years of intensive probation, court records state.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.