Larceny suspect flees mall, crashes

GUILDERLAND — Eniyah T. Simmons, 24, of Albany, is dead following a one-car rollover crash after she fled from police who tried to stop her, according to New York State Police spokeswoman Kerra Burns and Guilderland Police spokesman Curtis Cox.

A notice on the website of the Cannon Funeral Home says that there will be visiting hours and a service for Simmons on Friday, May 31, in Albany.

One visitor to the site’s tribute wall wrote, “May she live on in her child.”

Just after 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, Guilderland Police were investigating a larceny complaint at Burlington Coat Factory. Cox said that store security called police and gave a description of the suspect or suspects and a vehicle. A Guilderland Police officer then saw the suspect’s sport utility vehicle driving near the new hotels on the Crossgates Mall ring road, Cox said.

The driver disregarded the officer’s attempt to stop the SUV and sped away onto the Northway, Cox said, noting that the SUV made it onto the ramp for Exit 1E “long before” the Guilderland officer was able to catch up with her there.

When the Guilderland officer reached that exit ramp, Simmons’s SUV had already crashed, Cox said.

Burns of the State Police said it was a one-vehicle rollover, and that two passengers in the Dodge Durango that Simmons was driving were injured: Joshua A. Williams, 28, and Kevin Zapata, 34, both of Albany, were both taken to Albany Medical Center, where on Wednesday Williams remains in critical condition and Zapata in serious condition.

When the officer came upon the crash, the State Police were immediately notified; they responded and began to investigate, Cox said.

The reason that State Police are investigating, Cox said, is because the accident occurred over the town line, in the city of Albany.

Cox declined to identify the officer involved, saying that the incident is still under review.  

Cox said he did not know how fast Simmons or the officer were traveling, since that was part of the ongoing investigation by the State Police. However, Burns responded to the question in an email, saying, “I don’t know how fast Simmons was going, it will probably be a bit before the investigation is concluded. As far as the GPD officer involved, you will have to contact GPD.”

In response to an Enterprise request, Cox sent a copy of the Guilderland Police Department’s policy on car chases, which states, among other things, “Vehicle pursuit is one of the most dangerous duties a police officer must perform. When a decision to pursue is made, the safety of all concerned must be considered.  The seriousness of the offense must be weighed against the hazards of the health and welfare of citizens who might be affected by the chase. During the pursuit, continuous balancing of the seriousness versus safety is mandatory.”

The policy also states that the department expects an officer, or his or her supervisor, to terminate a pursuit whenever the risks to the safety of the officers or citizens outweigh the danger to the community if the offender is not caught.

Simmons was pronounced dead at the hospital, Burns said.

Cox listed a number of prior arrests for Simmons:

— May 2, 2019: Arrested on a felony warrant out of Colonie;

— May 4, 2019: Charged with petit larceny and possession of burglars’ tools, both misdemeanors, and with third-degree burglary, a felony;

— Dec. 22, 2018: Charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, for taking items from Pink in Crossgates Mall; at the time, Simmons had warrants out of Wilton, Colonie, Menands, and East Greenbush, and was turned over to State Police in Wilton on a warrant for grand larceny, according to Cox and her arrest report;

— In 2015, arrested for grand larceny, a felony, related to an incident at Crossgates Mall; and

— On Dec. 26, 2014, arrested on an outside misdemeanor warrant out of Halfmoon for petit larceny.


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