BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBMA, WHNT) — Birmingham Police and U.S. Marshals are still looking for a second suspect after a robbery that led to a high speed chase and a crash, killing a family in west Birmingham. The family is from Hanceville.
One man is in custody, Dominique Rashad Smith, 20, of Mulga. Birmingham Police and U.S. Marshals arrested him Tuesday.
Authorities in body armor and guns drawn have currently surrounded a house at 42nd Street North and Avenue O in Ensley, which they believe two more suspects are hiding inside.
Witnesses described the chase.
“We were coming down 269, me and my husband, and we noticed the wreck just happened,” Diane Gipson, a witness said. “We noticed a police chase going on and the white Tahoe hit this car at the red light.”
According to Birmingham TV station WBMA, two male suspects were involved in a robbery in Cordova and sped off in a white SUV leading several police agencies on a chase through Dora, Adamsville, McDonalds Chapel, and Wylam. A Jefferson County deputy located them and when he tried to turn around, his car flipped. He’s being treated for injuries. The SUV plowed into the car carrying a man, a woman, and infant.
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as Amber Nicole Verus, 23, her husband Ryan Max Culwell, 20 and their 10-month-old daughter, Rogue Marie Culwell, all of Hanceville.
Birmingham Police tell WBMA the suspects inside the SUV took off into the woods and the U.S. Marshals and K9 units were called in.
“We have recovered one weapon,” Sgt. John Callahan, Birmingham Police said. “We believe there’s another they have, so they are possibly armed.”
Just before midnight, Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies raided a house near the scene but couldn’t find the suspects there. They spent the rest of the night combing through an area near Wylam – just south of the accident site.
“The death of anybody is tragic but when it’s young kids involved and victims that are hurt as a result of people’s reckless actions – it’s hard on us to work an investigate it,” Sgt. Callahan said.