Police Chase Ends In Motorcyclist’s Death

Paul Bass PhotoState police are investigating a crash that killed a 27-year-old motorcyclist after Hamden cops reportedly chased him into New Haven.

The dead man’s father said he’s been looking for answers to what happened but has run into a blue stonewall.

The fatal crash occurred at the hydra-cornered intersection of Dixwell Avenue and Orchard Street around 12:25 a.m. Saturday. Two hours after it occurred, motorcyclist Maurice Drexell Adams was pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Police did not issue any releases about the incident. Adams’ father, Bruce Corwell, said Tuesday that he still can’t get police to give him any information.

“No police report. I have not had one documentation, not one communication about my dead son. No condolences. No nothing,” Corwell said.

“I believe my son was the victim of a crime.”

“They’re trying to keep it quiet,” said Adams’ brother, Dean Williams. “There’s a lot of witnesses.”

New Haven police originally investigated the crash. Then they turned it over to the state police “because Hamden police may have been involved,” said Lt. Joe Witkowski, the patrol shift commander at the time of the crash.

Neither Hamden police spokesman Capt. Ron Smith nor the state police returned calls for comment Tuesday.

According to New Haven police reports, numerous witnesses saw a police vehicle—which two witnesses identified as a Hamden police vehicle—chase Adams on his motorcycle down Dixwell Avenue into New Haven.

Several of the witnesses reported that after Adams fell, the driver of the police vehicle pulled up to look at him, “suddenly accelerated” and “left the scene with the rider on the ground.”

Police received conflicting reports about whether the police vehicle had struck the motorcycle or whether Adams lost control on his own.

“They were chasing him. Then he crashed,” one eyewitness, Nick Crawford, told the Independent Tuesday. “He tried to stop and the brakes locked up.

“They rolled by him. I had to call the ambulance.”

The family has hired attorney Michael Stratton to look into the case.

Stratton said he sees two major problems in the way Hamden police handled the incident: They shouldn’t have been chasing a motorcyclist in the first place. And they shouldn’t have left the scene of an accident.

“You never chase a motorcycle, ever,” Stratton argued.

“There were no drugs on the guy. There’s no alcohol. All we have maybe is speeding. You don’t chase people for speed.”

Adams attended Hillhouse High School. His brother said he was driving a Yamaha R6 bike at the time of the crash.

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posted by: Mr Bradley on August 20, 2013  9:16pm

When you enter into a police chase willingly, you should expect nothing good to happen.  I know that when i see police lights in my rear view, i yell an expletive and pull over. 
Bad choice of actions on the motorcyclist.

posted by: vc man on August 20, 2013  11:35pm

What kind of one-sided reporting is this? This article has one fact: a motorcyclist died. That’s it. Everything else is speculation and allegations from one side. Condolences to the family, but I expect more in depth reporting from the Independent.

[Editor’s Note: Thanks for the comment. I share your concern about not making stories like this one-sided, so I made sure to spend at least as much time trying to get the police version. I tried hard to get a response from both the Hamden police and the state police. They chose not to offer any. I made repeated efforts to get access to the New Haven police reports and did succeed, which offered the perspectives of some half-dozen people.]

posted by: unionsteward35 on August 21, 2013  5:06am

If this story is true, bad choice on Hamden Police for chasing in the first place and then leaving a scene.
RIP..to the young man we lost and prayers for the family!!

posted by: HhE on August 21, 2013  8:32am

Mr. Corwell, I am very sorry for your loss.

posted by: jayfairhaven on August 21, 2013  9:34am

the dashcam footage should clear the officer of any wrongdoing, right? i’ll hold my breath that it wasn’t accidentally erased. police are second only to teens on motorcycles when it comes to reckless driving.

posted by: member on August 21, 2013  9:41am

His father is looking for answers? Even my 10 year old son can answer that. Here is the answer. He was riding a quad illegally through a city street and was signaled to pull over by the police for this illegal activity chose to flee and chose to do this with his own free will. I have been a New Haven Firefighter for 15 years and have been to my share of accidents which led to the operator’s death do to fleeing police.Very simple don’t ride in street illegally and especially don’t flee the police.

posted by: Westville420 on August 21, 2013  9:50am

There’s a reason emergency room doctors at YNHH call motorcycle riders organ donors.  Ride a motorcycle, prepare your family ahead of time for when an accident happens.

posted by: Babydazzle on August 21, 2013  10:37am

Mr Corwell, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your son touched many lives including mine. I miss him everyday. I’ve been to the crash site everyday and night since this occurred. I am sadden by the fact that people I don’t even know witnessed this and their accounts of what happened are horrifying. Justice will be served. Maurice I miss you. I will always remember what you told “I want to be just like you”. You love riding bikes no matter how many wheels and you had just gotten that motorcycle. I smile everyday knowing that you are watching over all of us. Continue to rest. Until we meet again friend.

posted by: FairHavenRes on August 21, 2013  10:53am

Gary Cole, please bother to read the article first before commenting.  There is no indication that he was riding anything illegal.  He was riding a Yamaha R6, which is certainly not a quad.

posted by: PH on August 21, 2013  12:07pm

This incident appears to bring two major issues together: out-of-control motorcycle and ATV drivers, and Hamden PD’s over-aggressive high-speed pursuit policy (or individual officers’ failure to follow a policy).  The loss of life is tragic and I wish the young man’s family success in at least getting questions answered; for the rest of us—will we be able to prevent this from happening again?

posted by: member on August 21, 2013  4:06pm

My apologies for the misunderstanding The article and assuming he was riding a illegal dirt bike. (paul would you please remove comment)

posted by: Edward_H on August 21, 2013  4:48pm

Wasn’t there a picture of Tupac along with the original article? I don’t see any corrections or retractions noting its removal. What happened?

[Editor: We mistakenly ran the photo and removed it when readers alerted us.]

posted by: seanmilnes on August 23, 2013  7:15am

In the case of motorcycles there’s a no chase policy, at least within new haven.  this is why.  radio works faster.  sorry to the family.  just another case of cops being cops.

posted by: MrMarsh on August 26, 2013  7:54am

I am sorry to this young mans family for their loss. If a police officer didnt offer help to an injured person that officer should be dealt with to the fullest extent possible.With that being said, I have to wonder why he did not just yeild to the officer and pull over. He would be alive today if he just obeyed the police and stopped. And now his father is trying to blame others for his sons decision to flee at a high rate of speed. What if an innocent bystander was killed by this out of control man operating a powerful motorcycle at a high rate of speed on city streets. Nevermind his lack of respect for authority, What about his lack of respect for his neighbors?

posted by: just my view on August 27, 2013  5:00pm

Any new info - kinds strange there hasn’t been a follow-up?

Doesn’t this intersection have cameras?