CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police have released the names of the two people killed when a stolen SUV hit a taxi cab during a police chase early Wednesday morning.
The chase started shortly before 1 a.m. in Clifton when Cincinnati Police spotted a red Toyota Rav-4 which was reported stolen in Northern Kentucky. Police chased the vehicle, with two suspects inside, into Downtown Cincinnati.
The officer was able to pull the SUV over, but the driver took off. Police tried multiple times to get the SUV to stop by pulling out barricades and using stop sticks. The SUV was reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour going down Sycamore Hill.
The Rav-4 hit a silver, PT Cruiser at the intersection of 8th and Sycamore Street, then ricocheted off of the car and into the path of a taxi cab. Mohamed Ould Mohamed Sidi, 34, of Cincinnati and Tonya Hairston, 39, of New York were killed in the crash.
The impact of the SUV into the cab threw Hairston, who was also blind, from the vehicle. The cab then rolled and landed on top of her.
The driver of the PT Cruiser was not injured. The driver of the stolen SUV, Mark Gerth, 39, and his passenger, Donald Evans, 34, of Covington, KY, tried to run away but were taken into custody. They were both taken to the hospital for treatment. Gerth has since been released from the hospital and is facing multiple charges, including: two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of aggravated vehicular assault. Evans will not face charges because police say he had just met Gerth earlier in the evening and was getting a ride home.
Police say Gerth is originally from Louisville, but he currently lists his address as the Drop Inn Center in Over-the-Rhine, which is a homeless shelter. He had been previously arrested in 2002 for a burglary and chase in Fort Mitchell, but was released on parole as a non-violent offender. Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders says that Gerth should still be locked up in prison.
FOX19 spoke with the mother of the driver in the PT Cruiser and also the passenger. The driver of the PT Cruiser, Amanda Tempel, 21, of Cincinnati and her passenger, Sarah Weichelt, 21, of Cincinnati both had to be freed from the car, however, neither one of them had to be taken to the hospital.
Amanda's mother tells us that everyone is very shaken up and too emotional to speak on camera today. They tell FOX19 they saw the SUV coming towards them, hit them, and then hit the cab and witnessed all the wreckage. They also saw the blind woman thrown from the car and the suspect in the SUV running away.
FOX19 also talked to the aunt of Tonya Hairston, who says that Hairston's family is currently in New York working to make funeral arrangements.
During the police chase, the Police Department states that the officers were following the new police chase policies. They observed all traffic signals. CLICK HERE to read the Cincinnati Police Department chase policy.
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