North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

October 2, 2012

Update: Suspects caught in robbery, crash that killed family of three

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

BIRMINGHAM — Three men have been captured by U.S. Marshals and Birmingham Police in the Central Park neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, after they fled the scene of a car crash that killed two adults and an infant from Hanceville at the end of a high-speed police pursuit.

One 20-year-old black male has been taken to Cooper Geen Mercy Hospital because of injuries sustained in the crash, in which the SUV they were driving ran a red light and collided with the car carrying the three vicitims, which happened late Monday night in Birmingham's Sherman Heights neighborhood.

Dominique Rashad Smith, 20, of Mulga was taken early Tuesday afternoon. The two other men, both black and about the same age as Smith, were finally captured after a standoff with law enforcement. Their identities have not been released.

According to our sister newspaper The Cullman Times, the crash claimed the lives of Amber Nicole Verus, 23, Ryan Max Culwell, 20, and their 10-month-old daughter, Rogue Marie Culwell, all of Hanceville. They were pronounced dead at the scene, while the suspects fled the area.

The collision came at the end of a high-speed journey, sometimes with law-enforcement pursuit, which began in Dora after the suspects were reported to have robbed an elderly man in Cordova. Dora police pursued the suspects but couldn't keep up. A Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy passed the SUV going the other way on Alabama 269, turned around to pursue, but then wrecked.

The crash took place at the intersection of Birmingport Road (Ala. 269) and Minor Parkway, about a half mile northwest of the site of the old Ensley Works steel mill.