Aide To Top Police Commander Under Investigation In Fatal Crash - KMSP-TV

Aide To Top Police Commander Under Investigation In Fatal Crash

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David Ferris, who died from the collision David Ferris, who died from the collision

It was a horrific crash that left a 55 year old Fishtown man dead and a veteran Philadelphia police sergeant injured. Now, accident investigators are trying to determine who was responsible for the crash and if either one the drivers had been drinking before the accident.

"We have not been formally advised of any investigation or charges for that matter," said Fortunato Perri Jr., the lawyer for the police sergeant.

The accident took place late Saturday night at Ashburner and State Road. The police sergeant was driving a Dodge Challenger and had a blinking yellow light as he headed south on State Road, the driver of the Ford van had a blinking red light as he turned from Ashburner onto State.

"I can tell you, with respect to this incident that recently occurred over the weekend, he is deeply, deeply saddened by the result of this accident," Perri told FOX 29 in an exclusive interview.

FOX 29 is not naming the officer because he has not been charged, but police say the internal affairs bureau and the accident investigation division are looking into the case. The fatal accident occurred while the sergeant was off duty.

"I can assure you at this point, when the investigation is completed, the evidence will show he was not at fault and was not the cause of this tragedy," Perri added.

The sergeant's lawyer tells FOX 29 that the accident occurred just days after the officer's ex-wife's funeral. She was also a police officer and had died of a brain aneurysm.

"Sadly he suffered his own tragic set of circumstances within the last week. He lost a loved one, the  mother of his children.," Perri said.

Commissioner Charles Ramsey says that the state police have now joined the investigation along with the District Attorney to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, since the sergeant worked as an aide for one of the department's top deputy commissioners.

The state police are analyzing the so called "black box" from the 21 year police veteran's car. Police are also awaiting toxicology reports on blood taken from both drivers with a search warrant. The investigation could take several more days.
The sergeant suffered a broken wrist and a leg injury in the accident. Sources say that the man who died was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. He died Tuesday morning from his injuries.
Family and friends of 55-year-old David Ferris are in agony tonight. Ferris used to own the Foto Club in Port Richmond and he loved pool. In fact, he had a standing meeting to play with one of his club members tonight.

"It hurts. It hurts and I can't -- just hurts," says Tim Hatch.

For the first time in 14 years, Tim Hatch is without his buddy David Ferris. They were members of the Foto Club pool team. Tim says his Fishtown friend's talent on the table was dwarfed by his huge heart.

"If you need sneaks and he seen it, he'll take you out and buy a pair of sneaks. If you need clothes, you need food, he helped you out. He was just great," recalls Hatch. He's heartbroken that his friend of more than a decade is now gone.

"I just don't know why." Ferris' friend is wondering why the officer's not in jail. "If it was they that hit him, they would be in jail right now. I mean I can't believe that."

At the accident scene on Ashburner and State Road, a memorial has been erected for David Ferris. You can see a Foto Club T-shirt with signatures on it and also a white bear. Ferris was planning on taking a group of people on a tropical vacation. Now his family is planning his funeral.

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