Officer's son killed in crash; $15,000 reward offered for information

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by SEBASTIAN ROBERTSON, REBECCA LOPEZ and TANYA EISERER

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyaeiserer

WFAA

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 15 at 10:13 PM

Deadly crash

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DALLAS — Police are going door to door in their search for two capital murder suspects who fled from the scene of a deadly crash Tuesday morning in the M Streets area.

"If there are people in the neighborhood that see people going through their alley or backyard - suspicious people - then certainly we would encourage them to call," said Lt. Max Geron, a spokesman with Dallas police.

Police said 13-year-old Ethan Vasquez was killed and his mother, Sandy Vasquez, 40, was critically injured in a crash involving a stolen minivan.

Sources tell News 8 the teen was the son of Cedar Hill Police Sgt. Victor Vasquez, a 20-year veteran of the force. Mrs. Vasquez was injured in the crash and was in surgery as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Cedar Hill police and firefighters gathered at Baylor Medical Center to comfort the family.

"We are here in support of Officer Vasquez. This is a horrible tragedy," said firefighter Traci Hemminger. "He has suffered a loss of his family. We are his second family.”

According to Highland Park Police Sgt. Lance Koppa, the incident began when a Highland Park officer attempted to pull over the blue minivan after police say it ran a stop sign in the 4500 block of Abbott Avenue.

The officer attempted to pull over the driver and the minivan ran another stop sign on Armstrong Avenue, and "immediately increased his speed [...] to evade the Highland Park officer," Koppa said. He said the driver then hopped the median, turned north on McKinney Avenue, used an alley to get on the U.S. 75 access road southbound and turned on Goodwin Avenue.

"Due to the traffic load, when combined with erratic, unpredictable and dangerous driving of the suspect, the Highland Park officer terminated his pursuit on Goodwin Avenue," Koppa said.

The officer followed the last known path of the minivan, but found it crashed into a car carrying the mother and son at the intersection of Homer Street and Monticello Avenue.

"You could see him in the back seat," said Peter Ferris, who lives near the intersection. "[The boy] wasn’t responsive.”

Ethan Vasquez was described as a talented student at Travis Academy in Dallas.

The Vasquez family vehicle collided into another witness' vehicle from the impact of the crash. That witness' condition is unknown at this time.

The minivan's driver and a passenger were bleeding as they climbed from the minivan and fled the scene on foot. They remain at large and police are unsure of their identities at this time. Police haven't released full suspect descriptions, but Lt. Geron said one of the men was believed to be wearing a white shirt and white cap.

Sources tell News 8 the minivan's passenger was slammed into the windshield during the crash and blood and hair were left behind. Investigators cut out a portion of the windshield and removed it from the crime scene for DNA analysis.

Investigators also found a black case typically used to carry weapons in the vehicle and removed the back seat of the minivan. Police say the vehicle was stolen in late March and there were no suspects in the theft of the minivan.

Police said because the suspects were in the act of committing a felony at the time of the crash, detectives are investigating the situation as a capital murder offense.

”It’s just a horrible accident and hope they lock them up,” said Kirk Tatum, who lives near where the accident occurred.

Police are using a helicopter and a K-9 unit to assist in their search.

If you live in the area and see any suspicious behavior, call 911. Police are also seeking additional witnesses who may have seen the suspects flee. If you have any information, call Dallas police homicide detectives at 214-671-3661.

Oak Farms Dairy is offering $10,000 and Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for any information in the case that leads to an arrest and indictment.

WFAA.com's Josh Davis contributed to this report

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