Macungie, Pa. couple was high on heroin during dangerous joy ride, will face charges in both New Jersey and Philadelphia.
A man and woman on the run from Camden, N.J. authorities reportedly stole two police cars during a wild car chase through Northeast Philadelphia that ended in Northern Liberties, just around the corner from Superfresh on Girard Avenue.
Blake Bills, 24, and Shayna Sykes, 23, of Macungie, Pa., allegedly stole a Camden police car before 10 a.m. this morning from a police officer who was ticketing another driver for an unrelated violation.
That officer was then reportedly hit with his own patrol car by Bills and Sykes and sustained injuries to his legs before they fled for Philadelphia via the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
“We just saw the cops flying by,” said Joe, who was working at Wine and Spirits Store on West Girard Ave, near where the dramatic chase ended. “Our truck driver told us he saw the aftermath.”
Bills and Sykes, who according to police were reported missing by Bills’ grandmother and have a 7-month-old baby together, allegedly drove into North Philadelphia, where the battered Camden police car came to a halt at 7th and Norris streets, between Ferguson Elementary School and Midtown United Methodist Church.
Employees of the church and school declined to comment on the incident.
According to Philly.com, the two were “high on heroin when they made off with least one civilian car in Philadelphia earlier that morning and attempted to steal another in Camden after their first broke down,” according to Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor’s office.
While Bills reportedly was being arrested at 7th and Norris streets, Sykes allegedly stole an arresting officer’s car, numbered 2526, and tore off through the Northeast back towards the bridge.
Helicopter footage by Fox29 News showed the stolen police cruiser driven by the female suspect crumple its front fender as it struck a moving box truck, then briefly emitting flames and smoke from the back of the car. The car continued on, nearly sideswiping a female pedestrian crossing the street, who fell to the ground in shock and struck her head.
That pedestrian’s condition is stable, police said.
The stolen police car was later videotaped by ABC News veering from Master Street onto American Street headed south, and then wildly dodging traffic including a SEPTA trolley on Girard Avenue as it passed Superfresh Market before turning onto Hancock Street.
“I haven’t seen anything – oh wow,” said Jeannie, an employee at the Crane Arts Center, located at Master and American streets, when asked about whether she witnessed Sykes’ driving right past her building.
The dramatic chase ended on the 1100 block of Hope Street and Sykes was arrested after the Philadelphia police car, which had sustained serious damage during the chase, became inoperable, according to Lt. John Stanford.
“During the course of that pursuit she actually came in contact with some other vehicles, parked vehicles and vehicles that were driving … One of the right front tires looked like it was completely blown out,” Lt. Stanford said. “She wasn’t able to keep driving.”
Six cars were hit by Sykes during her flight.
At a press conference this afternoon, Deputy Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard J. Ross Jr. said that both suspects will face charges of resisting arrest, driving under the influence, and risking a catastrophe.
“You’re talking about some very reckless individuals,” Deputy Commissioner Ross told news media at an press conference earlier in the day. “I’ve never heard of anybody stealing two police cars in the same incident.”
Charges were filed in New Jersey against the couple Wednesday, Philly.com reported. Bills is charged with attempted murder, carjacking, eluding, aggravated assault and assault by auto, and Sykes is charged with conspiracy to commit theft of a car and joyriding.
The Macungie couple also faces charges in Philadelphia.
Reporter Sam Newhouse can be reached at 215-354-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managing Editor Mikala Jamison can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at email@example.com.