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Police ID Suspect In Deadly North Philadelphia Chase; Family Speaks Out

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By Jericka Duncan, Mike Dougherty, Oren Liebermann

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The 2001 silver Volkswagen Passat did not belong to Gregory Alston, 39, but police say he sped off with it anyway. Police say they pulled him over for traffic violation, but instead of stopping, they say he flashed a gun and drove off, tearing down Ontario Street. Alston’s parents defended their son.

“Gregory is not a bad guy. I don’t know what happened,” said his stepfather, Marvin Palmer, standing behind a screen door at his house on Fernhill Road.

gregory alston Police ID Suspect In Deadly North Philadelphia Chase; Family Speaks Out

(Credit: Philadelphia Police)

The car chase ended at 10th and Ontario, when police say Alston crashed into a Honda Accord, killing a man in the passenger seat and sending the driver and a four-year-old boy to the hospital.

“If he’s this good guy you’re making him out to be, why did he run?” asked Eyewitness News reporter Oren Liebermann.

“I have no idea,” responded his stepfather.

“He was just scared because he was driving a car without a license,” said his mother Deborah Alston.

But the chase was not over yet. Police say Alston got out of his car after the deadly crash and ran into a nearby lot. The police helicopter light was on him as he tried to get away, running around to the backside of a building before finally giving up. Police were on him in seconds. He was apprehended in the 900 block of West Russell Street.

Alston’s mother says there’s no excuse for what he’s accused of doing.

“I’m going to let him know to pray and that one thing he did take another person’s life.”

Alston’s parents say he got out of jail about six months ago after spending a year locked up on drug charges. And court records show he’s been in and out of jail since his early 20’s on drug and assault charges.

The front-seat passenger that was killed in the crash has been identified as 36-year-old Danny Irizarry Roman from the 4800 block of North 8th Street.

The driver of the tan Honda Accord, the 26-year-old female, is recovering in critical but stable condition at Temple University Hospital. The four-year-old child is recovering in stable condition at CHOP.

Alston, from the 4500 block of Fernhill Street, is charged with: Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, and Homicide by Vehicle, Aggravated Assault, Fleeing Police, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act and a slew of related offenses.

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