Murder Charge for Driver in Fiery Fatal Crash on West Street

A firefighter inspects what is left of a Honda CRV after it was struck and caught fire, with the driver, Amy Phillipson, 57, trapped inside. Sherman Harrison, the driver who authorities say was driving 113 miles an hour when he hit her car, is charged with murdering Phillipson. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Feb. 05, 2019

The man accused of barreling down West Street at more than 100 miles an hour on Dec. 29, killing a woman in a fiery crash between Hubert and Laight Streets, has been charged with murder, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance announced on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, Sherman Harrison, 37, of Upper Marlboro, Md., was driving his Audi A6 at 113 miles an hour when he crashed into the Honda CRV driven by Amy Phillipson, 57. The impact caused her car to mount a center median, flip over and catch fire. Phillipson, who was on her way to work at a FedEx facility, was trapped inside and pronounced dead at the scene.

“The defendant is charged with murdering Ms. Phillipson in a horrific crime of traffic violence,” Vance said in a statement, adding,  “As this case tragically shows, this kind of driving poses a lethal danger to New Yorkers and will be prosecuted accordingly.”

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said that the day before the collision in Tribeca, Harrison had eluded police in a high-speed 27-mile chase in Virginia.

After hitting the Phillipson car, Harrison allegedly continued traveling north on West Street, hitting a second vehicle that in turn crashed into a third vehicle. That collision caused Harrison’s car to spin out of control and come to stop after hitting two parked cars. Harrison tried to flee on foot down Hubert Street before being identified by a witness and arrested, according to the indictment. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries.

Along with charges of second-degree murder, the New York Supreme Court indictment includes charges of second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, and unlawful possession of ammunition. Police say they found a loaded .40 caliber magazine and two loaded .9MM magazines in Harrison’s car.

Harrison pleaded not guilty to all charges. His next court date is April 30.