Two charged in fatal Bohemia crash

A female passenger in a car that was

A female passenger in a car that was struck by another vehicle being chased by a deputy Suffolk sheriff on Sunrise Highway has died, authorities said. (June 27, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Two people were charged Tuesday in connection with a crash that killed a Holbrook woman after the pair's car led sheriff's deputies on a pursuit.

Rashawn Naquan Smith, 26, of Brooklyn, and Essence Smith, 18, of Troy, were each charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree and are being held at the Suffolk County Jail. Rashawn Smith was being held on $200,000 cash bail and $400,000 bond. Essence Smith was being held on $50,000 cash bail and $100,000 bond.

Essence Smith also was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. A third suspect, Cordell Tucker, 24, who authorities said was driving the car, is to be arraigned Wednesday on similar charges, said Suffolk County Sheriff's Department Chief Michael Sharkey. As the driver, Tucker also could face more serious charges, Sharkey said.

Gail Sacher, 62, of Holbrook, was pronounced dead at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore after the crash at Sunrise Highway and Lincoln Avenue in Bohemia. She was a passenger in a Subaru driven by her husband, Alan Sacher, 61. He was listed in stable condition at Southside Tuesday after being hurt in the crash, officials said.

At about 1 p.m. Monday, deputies were alerted that the trio had made off with close to $4,000 in merchandise from a store at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Riverhead and were on the Long Island Expressway, Sharkey said. A deputy saw their car at Exit 67, Sharkey said, checked the plates and found that they did not match those registered with the vehicle. Deputies signaled the car to pull over and it did at Exit 64. As two deputies approached, the car drove off.

Deputies pursued with sirens and lights on as the Lincoln went southbound on Route 112 in Medford, Sharkey said Tuesday.

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A witness to the crash said Monday that the Town Car appeared to be traveling at about 50 mph when it hit the Subaru. Sharkey has said deputies followed department protocol during the pursuit. Supervisors kept in close contact with the deputies, Sharkey said, and there were points during the pursuit when the deputies backed off.

He said investigators had not determined the speed of the suspects' or the deputies' cars, but deputies were a quarter-mile behind the suspects' at the time of the crash.

Neighbors of the Sachers in Holbrook recalled the couple fondly. Gail Sacher was a retired schoolteacher, said Jill Klein, 47, who said she has known the couple for 20 years. "Gail was a wonderful great neighbor, a phenomenal teacher," Klein said. "She will truly be missed."

With Jeremy Schneider

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