'Senseless and sad': Community members respond to North Minneapolis crash

The cars involved in a crash that killed two people in North Minneapolis Friday are long gone, but the debris remains. 

“Wrong place, wrong time, or the way the Lord works, might have been the right place, right time—but it was just an unfortunate incident, very sad,” said Johnny Evans Jr., a friend of one of the victims. 

Evans said his friend, Terrance Odom, was one of the people killed. Odom was in the alley near the intersection of Lowry Avenue North and Penn Avenue North. He was a bystander to chaos, Evans said. 

“We’re outside, we see the car that flipped over speed past us, some chick was trying to jump out,” said Marquis Harris, a witness to the crash. 

Minneapolis Police say they got involved when an officer on patrol in an unmarked car noticed two vehicles speeding. The officer caught up with one of the drivers, who said the person in the leading vehicle hit him and left the scene. 

“The officer got into his squad car and drove in the direction of where he had seen that suspect vehicle traveling,” said MPD spokesperson John Elder. “The suspect vehicle traveled northbound through the alley, just west of Penn, struck a passenger car, a telephone pole, flipped over.” 

One person in each vehicle was killed, two others were injured. 

Numerous witnesses and community members contend the unmarked unit was involved in a pursuit, but Minneapolis police say that’s not the case. 

“We don’t use them for pursuit,” Elder said. “This was in fact not a pursuit, this officer was never close enough to the car to even get a license plate or give more than a vague description of the car. Never was pursuit radioed out. This was not a chase.” 

No matter the circumstances, those who knew Odom say this didn’t have to happen. 

“It was senseless for the people that lost their lives here,” Evans said. “To lose a life here is very hard…but given the circumstances in the situation, it was very senseless.” 

Speed and impairment are possible factors being investigated in regards to the crash.