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St. Louis County man charged in crash that killed woman, 87, as he fled police

St. Louis County man charged in crash that killed woman, 87, as he fled police

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ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis County man was charged with murder today after he fled police and crashed into another car, killing an 87-year-old woman, police said.

William Joseph Gallagher, 18, of the 9000 block of Southview Lane in the St. George area, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder, assault on a law enforcement officer and tampering with a motor vehicle and several counts each of armed criminal action, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident.

Gallagher was in a stolen 1997 Honda Accord with several other people when St. Louis police stopped it on the parking lot of a former Arby's restaurant on Grand Boulevard about 3 p.m. Tuesday. Police had been given information that Gallagher, who was wanted for alleged crimes in St. Louis County, would be there. They were also told he had a juvenile in the car who had been reported as missing from Franklin County.

Police asked Gallagher to step out of the car, but he backed up his car and nearly struck an officer, police said. The Accord struck a parked Cadillac Deville before driving down nearby Alberta Street going the wrong way.

Gallagher told police he then cut south and sped east on Osage Street to Nebraska Avenue at speeds of about 85 miles per hour, according to court documents.

At Nebraska, he collided with a car, fatally injuring a passenger in that vehicle, Virginia Bedrosian, 87, of Greenville, Ill. Two others in the car hit by Gallagher were taken to hospitals for treatment. Police did not have conditions for them but said their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. A girl in the car with Gallagher was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, police said.

Gallagher hit two other parked cars before getting out and running.

Officers looked for Gallagher's vehicle and found the crash scene at Nebraska Avenue. Witnesses gave police a description of the teen driver, and officers caught up to Gallagher on foot and arrested him.

Police said officers reviewed video footage from city squad cars and said officers did not chase the suspect. Police are continuing an investigation.

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