Manslaughter charges added in fatal North Avenue crash, building collapse

Published 3/21/2023 4:11 p.m. EDT, Updated 3/21/2023 5:47 p.m. EDT

A building at the corner of E. North Avenue and N. Wolfe Street collapses after it's hit by stolen car that crashed into another car. The driver of the stolen vehicle hit a pedestrian, Alfred Fincher, before crashing into the building. Fincher was pronounced dead at the scene.
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A Baltimore grand jury has added vehicular manslaughter to the charges against a man who allegedly fled police and crashed a stolen car into a building on North Avenue, killing 54-year-old Alfred Fincher.

Shawn Lee Brunson now faces charges of gross negligent vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent vehicular manslaughter, theft of property valued between $1,500 and $25,000 and driving without a license. The most serious charge brings a maximum possible sentence of 10 years.

Brunson, 33, was fleeing police at the time of the crash, which occurred Feb. 8. A CCTV camera captured the horrific incident, showing the vehicle running a red light and smashing into a vehicle traveling eastbound. The stolen car smashed into Fincher and then a vacant building just behind him. The building then toppled onto both cars. Brunson was arrested at the scene and initially held on car theft charges.

Divya Potdar, an attorney representing Fincher’s family, said the grand jury and Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office “have done the right thing by indicting Mr. Brunson with these charges.”

“His actions led to the death of Alfred Fincher, an innocent pedestrian,” Potdar said.

Brunson’s public defender Brian Levy declined to comment.

The Attorney General’s Office’s Independent Investigations Division is conducting a review into the police pursuit. Body camera footage and the CCTV footage shows Officer Devin Yancy was in pursuit of the vehicle prior to the crash. A supervisor can be heard over the police radio saying to “break it off” and Yancy’s engine stops revving; the crash occurs a few seconds later.

The body camera footage leading up to the crash lasts about two minutes, although the angle of the video makes it difficult to tell how long Yancy was actively involved.

“We patiently await the State’s Attorney’s and the Attorney General’s investigation of the Police Department’s role in the death of Mr. Fincher,” Potdar said.

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