Kaitlin McKinley Becker

Police: Man Arrested in Connection to Lawrence Crash That Killed Child

Before the crash, Selvin Manuel Lima was pulled over for speeding and operating his car erratically, officials said

EDITOR'S NOTE: The slain girl was initially described as 8 years old by the Essex County District Attorney's Office, but the office later said she was 11-year-old Taysha Rohena Silva of Peabody; her 8-year-old sister remains hospitalized with serious injuries. This story has been updated.

A man was arrested Sunday in connection to the two-car crash that killed a child in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the Essex District Attorney's Office said, revealing that the suspect was allegedly fleeing police at the time of the wreck.

Selvin Manuel Lima, 23, of Lawrence, is facing charges of manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation, four counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, operating after a license suspension, failing to stop for a police officer, failure to stay in marked lanes and speeding. 

Police say the crash claimed the life of a girl and happened just before 6 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Andover Street and Winthrop Avenue.

The district attorney's office says around 30 minutes before the crash, Lawrence police tried to stop Lima for speeding and driving his Infiniti erratically. As the officer approached Lima's car, police say he fled at a high rate of speed.

The officer did not pursue Lima, who lost control of his car as he approached the intersection of Winthrop and Andover streets, crossing over into the southbound side and striking a Honda Civic head on.

The district attorney's office says there were five passengers in the Honda Civic, including the girl, who they say was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital.

A 27-year-old Lawrence man, a 29-year-old Peabody woman and two girls were taken to various Boston hospitals with serious injuries.

There was no update Sunday night on their conditions.

Lima also suffered serious injuries and was med-flighted to Brigham and Woman's Hospital where he remains hospitalized.

Surveillance video released Sunday shows the moment Lima's car collided head on with the Honda Civic.

“I heard that horrible, horrible kaboom,” Maria Rosario said. “I screamed and told my granddaughter something horrible has happened.”

Seconds after the collision, people can be seen on surveillance video running out of a nearby laundromat to help.

"I ran from the back so quick," Wayne Boucher said. "It was really loud."

Boucher heard the impact from across the street and rushed over to the victims' car where there were two adults and three children.

"I was yelling, screaming, 'call the cops! Call the ambulance! Call the cops!' I was screaming my head off," he said.

Boucher says a man and woman were in the front seats, and he pulled the woman out of the wreck.

"I laid her down on the ground," he said. "She goes, 'My kids! My kids!' I go, 'Your kids are fine,' which they weren't. They were in bad shape. I didn’t want to tell the mother that they were in bad shape."

While helping the woman, Boucher glanced at the girls in the car.

“I think it was another girl, a younger one, 5-year-old in the back seat, crunched up on the floor,” he said.

Officials say Lima had a suspended license.

“It’s kind of infuriating because this entire accident could’ve been avoided if he had taken accountability and responsibility from the get go and the beginning and didn’t try to flee,” Mikayla Montanez said.

The Lawrence community is mourning the life lost.

“That was a kid. There’s no excuse. Her life’s over,” James Ford said.

Lawrence resident Dianne Houde says, “People don't care about other lives anymore."

Houde said a prayer for the victims at the crash scene, where several people took a moment Sunday to leave flowers.

"Let God take over. Bless them. Make them better. It's hard. It's going to be a hard road. A long road for them," she said.

Lima remains at Brigham and Woman's Hospital, where he is expected to be arraigned Monday, depending on his condition. It's unclear whether he's represented by an attorney who could comment.

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