Police say driver in fatal rollover was trying to evade pursuing officer

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “I want answers on why my daughter was being chased like that on the highway. You’re not supposed to chase people because they’re going to crash.”

Sakinah Jackson, of Albany, says she wants to know exactly what happened in the minutes leading up to the rollover accident that killed her daughter, 24 year old E-Niyah Simmons.

“I just need somebody to tell me what’s going on.”

She doesn’t deny E-Niyah’s troubled past, which resulted in several shoplifting arrests.

“She has a problem,” Jackson said. “If it’s free, she’ll pick it up. Doesn’t matter. But that doesn’t have anything to do with a petit larceny to kill somebody. Or to predict them to flip over three times.”

Guilderland Police say E-Niyah was the suspected get-away driver after a theft at Burlington Coat Factory at Crossgates Mall.

Security had alerted a Guilderland police officer that a male suspect had been seen leaving the store and then climbing into E-Niyah’s SUV. During a pursuit that lasted all of 90 seconds, E-Niyah’s vehicle flipped over after she failed to navigate an exit onto I-90.

“She was doing maybe 80, 85, 90 making the turn. But we could see them from our rear view mirror that they weren’t that far.”

One of two passengers who were ejected from the vehicle, Kevin Zapata, spoke to us from his hospital room. He claims it wasn’t a theft that had E-Niyah running, but the fact that she didn’t have a license.

Kevin has a broken leg. E-Niyah’s boyfriend, Joshua Williams, the father of her baby girl. is said to be in a coma. E-Niyah died on the scene.

Her mother questions why the chase was necessary to begin with given the likelihood of security cameras and her daughter’s past with Guilderland police.

“They know her. They know her name. She gets arrested every two weeks. This is not fair for petit larceny?”

She says she’s now planning her daughter’s funeral and how to raise her grandchildren without their mother.

NEWS10 ABC reached out to Guilderland Police to respond to Sakinah’s questioning the necessity of the chase. Deputy Chief Curtis Cox sent the following statement:

“I feel it would be irresponsible to debate this in the media. We are certainly sorry for their loss. The initial attempt to stop was on Crossgates Mall Road where she had ample opportunity to stop as required by law and to ascertain the purpose for why she was stopped.”

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