A 42-year-old man was killed and two pedestrians were injured Monday morning in a hit-and-run crash in West Baltimore, and police are searching for the driver.

About 9:30 a.m., officers in a marked police cruiser observed a car driving erratically going in the opposite direction, Baltimore police spokesman Lt. Eric Kowalczyk said. The patrol car made a U-turn to follow, turned on its lights and sirens, and attempted to pull the vehicle over, Kowalczyk said.

The other car sped off. Police did not pursue or chase the car, Kowalczyk said, because the officers believed the driver already posed a danger to other vehicles and they didn't want to exacerbate the situation. Department rules prohitibit high-speed pursuits except in "exigent" circumstances.

"Our officers broke off the attempt to stop the vehicle because of the way the suspect was driving," Kowalczyk said. "It was not a pursuit."

A short time later, he said, the patrol car was flagged down by residents in the Franklin Square neighborhood.

The car the officers had tried to stop had plowed into another car at West Lexington and North Calhoun streets, killing 42-year-old Terrell Smith. Two pedestrians also suffered injuries that were not deemed life-threatening, Kowalczyk said. The crash occurred next to Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy School.

Relatives for Smith could not be located.

The driver who initiated the crash fled on foot, Kowalczyk said. Investigators were interviewing witnesses to determine whether any more occupants were in the car. Police did not release any details about the suspect.

A woman — who witnessed the crash but did not provide her name because she said she feared reprisal from the driver — said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun that she saw two men run from the gray sedan that initiated the wreck.

She said she saw the crash unfold over a space of about two blocks. She first caught sight of the gray car driving at a high rate of speed traveling west on West Lexington Street when it zipped around a car stopped at a red light at Carey Street.

The gray car dashed up one more block, blew past a stop sign at Calhoun Street and smashed into the red car driven by Smith, she said. The woman said she did not see a police car trailing behind the speeding car.

Baltimore police's CRASH Team, which investigates fatal and serious car wrecks, is investigating along with the Force Investigation Team, which reviews all incidents in which police were involved or may have influenced events and that resulted in deaths or serious injuries, Kowalczyk said.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

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