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Police identify teens killed in crash

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Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 06:13:33-04

Police have identified two teenagers killed in a crash late Wednesday night in Northwest Baltimore.

16-year-old Cornell Gilbert, and 13-year-old Syiid Brinkley died in that crash. Police say both of them were passengers in a stolen car.  The driver, who is also 16, and another passenger, who is 13, survived.

Witnesses at the scene said they believe police were chasing the stolen car.  So far police have not confirmed that; but a man who lost a family member in an alleged police chase in 2013 says an outside agency should investigate last night’s crash, because he doesn't trust city police to be fair and impartial.

The stolen BMW crashed at the intersection of Reisterstown Road and Liberty Heights Avenue, near Mondawmin Mall.

Kareem Hines heard the crash, came outside and talked to people on the scene who saw what happened.  “They said they were chasing them, and the car was going too fast, and that's how it hit the pole,” Hines said.

They told him it was a chase -- at a news conference on Thursday, ABC-2 News asked the city police spokesman whether that's what happened:

“We don't have any evidence at this point to say that or not. So again we're piecing all of this together,” said the spokesman, Lt. T.J. Smith.

Chasing a suspect's vehicle is against city police policy; unless there are what's called "exigent circumstances" no chases are allowed.

And even in those cases officers are supposed to get approval from a supervisor before chasing a suspect.

So far, police have only said officers recognized the white BMW as a stolen vehicle, and tried to stop it around 11:30 Wednesday night.

“The officers saw that vehicle matching that description and they attempted to make a traffic stop on that vehicle,” Lt. Smith said.

The city police crash team is now investigating, and that’s upsetting to Nathan Franklin of North Baltimore.

Back in September of 2013 Franklin's sister-in-law, Angel Chiwengo, died in a crash at the intersection of York Road and Northern Parkway.

Police say they had been following a Honda, when it slammed into the car that Chiwengo had been riding in.

“I feel like the police should not, if it's something with the police they should not be able to investigate themselves, judge themselves, and then hand out the punishment for themselves,” Franklin said.

In the Chiwengo case, Franklin said police determined that the officers following the Honda did not violate their orders.

Franklin has no idea what happened in the crash in Northwest Baltimore.  After the crash that took the life of his sister-in-law, he's concerned that without an independent investigation no one else ever will.

“The number one priority is public safety. It's not about getting a stolen car or smelling some marijuana of drugs. It's about public safety,” Franklin said.

In addition to the criminal investigation, Angel Chiwengo's family's sued the city police department.  Their lawsuit is still pending, more than two and a half years after the crash that killed her.

In Wednesday night's crash, police have not released the names of the 16-year-old driver of the BMW that crashed, or the other teen who also survived.