Teenager charged with murder in airport police chase, crash that killed Lemay boy

Teenager charged with murder in airport police chase, crash that killed Lemay boy

Darian Cummings

A teenager was charged with murder Friday for leading Normandy police on a chase near the airport that killed a Lemay boy and severely injured members of his family last spring.

Darian Cummings, 17, of the 2200 block of North Warren Street in St. Louis, on one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and three counts of second-degree assault. He is being held on a $1 million cash-only bond.

During an April 25 police chase from the Normandy Police Department, police allege Cummings hit a car, killed a boy and seriously injured the boy’s family, all innocent bystanders who were returning to Lemay from a vacation to Disney World in Florida.

Caleb Lee, 9, a fourth-grader at Forder Elementary School in the Mehlville School District, died of injuries from the crash May 5.

Caleb’s mother, Candice Lee, 30, was hospitalized in critical condition after the crash. His brother Evan, 5, was in critical but stable condition. The fourth passenger, the boys’ aunt Brittany Lee, was stable at the scene with only abrasions and lacerations.

Cummings, then 16, and the two other juveniles in the fleeing car were taken into custody directly after the crash.

Cummings has been in custody ever since and was certified Thursday to stand trial as an adult, county police spokesman Officer Benjamin Granda said.

The St. Louis County Police Department conducted the investigation.

Police allege that Cummings carjacked a small gray SUV in St. Louis city at gunpoint at 3:06 a.m. April 25. Cummings was identified in two photo line-ups by the two victims of the April 25 carjacking, police said. The victims reported that they were carjacked at gunpoint by two males.

When an officer from the Normandy Police Department saw the stolen car around 9:47 a.m. and tried to pull it over, Cummings and the two other juveniles in the car with him, a girl and a boy, led the officer on a chase near the Southwest Terminal at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Cummings was allegedly speeding in the stolen gray SUV on Interstate 70 near Interstate 170 when the Normandy officer tried to stop him and, when Cummings wouldn’t pull over, gave chase. The Normandy officer turned on his sirens, but Cummings sped, wove in and out of traffic lanes and almost struck other cars on the highway, police said.

Nearing the airport, Cummings ran a red light and hit the Lees’ car, police said.

The juvenile suspects were initially transported to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries. Cummings, then 16, and a 15-year-old boy in the passenger seat were in stable condition with abrasions and lacerations. The rear passenger, a 15-year-old girl, had a laceration to her head and was also stable.

Police recovered what appeared to be a handgun from the stolen SUV, but detectives determined it was a replica.