Police helicopter footage of a crash in Northwest Baltimore. Credit: Baltimore Police Department via source
A 28-year-old Baltimore man who went into a coma last month when a woman fleeing police in an allegedly stolen car plowed into his vehicle died Friday night, his mother said.
Darius Gore, who went into a coma after his vehicle was struck at Liberty Heights e and Callaway avenues in Callaway-Garrison in Northwest Baltimore on March 21, died after going into cardiac arrest Friday night, his mother, Rowena Simmons, said Sunday.
Gore’s vehicle was struck by one driven by Delisa Ann Dello-Stritto, who police say fled from officers who attempted to box her in at a West Patapsco Avenue gas station after she was seen with a 2014 Ford Fusion reported stolen out of Pennsylvania.
Gore went into a coma after the crash, and a 54-year-old passenger in Gore’s vehicle, who Simmons said Gore was driving to his job at Sinai Hospital, suffered broken bones as a result of the crash.
Dello-Stritto faces four counts of second-degree assault, and one count each of reckless endangerment, unauthorized removal of property, and theft between $1,000 and $25,000, court records show. She also has pending traffic charges and is being held without bail.
Simmons has criticized police for their handling of the chase, saying that police needlessly chased Dello-Stritto down residential streets throughout the city, which she echoed again Sunday.
“I just feel as though this was so senseless,” Simmons said.
Detective James Moses, spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, wrote in an email Sunday that the department’s “Crash Team is in the final stages of investigating the details of the accident.”
“Upon the conclusion of their investigation, they will turn the finding over to [the Special Investigations Response Team] SIRT," he wrote.
Attorney Nikoletta Mendrinos, who is representing the family, said an autopsy has been requested.
Calling the crash “perfectly preventable,” she said she’d “strongly suspect” the charges against Dello-Stritto would be upgraded, given Gore’s death.
Police wrote in charging documents that when officers attempted to box Dello-Stritto in at the gas station, she put her car into reverse, struck a police vehicle and managed to escape, leading police on a high-speed chase through the city.
Police policies prohibit pursuits for stolen vehicles but allow chases if there “exists probable cause to believe the fleeing suspect committed a felony which results, or could have result, in death or serious bodily injury.”
Speaking with The Baltimore Sun on Sunday, Simmons said she spoke to her son over FaceTime on Thursday and was so surprised to hear the news the next day that it required a second official to convince her that her son had died.
The coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the state and infected thousands more, also made handling Gore’s recovery difficult, Simmons said.
Instead of bedside visits, flowers and hand-holding at the hospital, Simmons had to send a recorded tape of the family and their dog to Gore in hopes of keeping his spirit up.
She said the dog, a Yorkie named Cash, was in the car and injured when the crash occurred.
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Eventually, she said, the hospital staff allowed her to set up FaceTime calls with Gore, which they conducted Tuesday and Thursday.
It was their Thursday call that made Gore’s death more difficult to swallow, Simmons said, as there were signs of hope that he could someday recover.
“He opened his eyes. ... He was blinking when I was asking questions,” she said. “I didn’t believe it.”
Simmons said she doesn’t feel officers used their best discretion when they decided to chase Dello-Stritto. Police wrote in charging documents that the Foxtrot helicopter was overhead when the officers arrived and attempted to box Dello-Stritto’s vehicle in at the gas station.