QUEENS — A 78-year-old woman was killed and several other people were injured after an SUV driven by a man on lifetime parole for murder was fleeing police, lost control of his vehicle and slammed into another car in Cambria Heights on Thursday afternoon, according to authorities and witnesses.
Derrick Perkins, 51, was being pursued by an unmarked NYPD vehicle at about 1 p.m. after he stole a cellphone from an employee at a Queens tire shop and then pretended to have a gun, police officials at the scene said.
Officers first tried to pull over his BMW X5 at 116th Avenue and 225th Street, but Perkins rammed the police vehicle and took off down 225th Street, according to officials.
He then ran a red light at 225th Street and Linden Boulevard, and crashed into a car driven by Roxina Clayton, 78, according to officials and an eyewitness, Arielle Dupiton, 21.
Perkins' car flipped over and he then tried to fight off NYPD officers as they pulled him from the vehicle, according to Dupiton, who works at a doctor’s office at the intersection.
“It was frightening. A lot of people were yelling, ‘Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him!’” she said. “We were all concerned why he was fighting back.”
Responders performed CPR on Clayton next to her green Saturn sedan, the worker added.
Clayton, a resident of Laurelton, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Beauty salon owner Yvonne Gardiner said she saw the woman laying on the ground motionless after the crash.
"She was on the ground not responding. I saw a lot of police after trying to help," Gardiner said.
One man, 29, was in the intersection during the crash and suffered a leg injury and treated at North Shore University Hospital, police said.
Several officers were also injured during the arrest and were taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. An NYPD spokesman Friday morning didn't know how many were hurt.
Angel Rivera, 18, was walking home when she saw police chasing the SUV.
Multiple witnesses said they saw the unmarked NYPD car hit Perkins' SUV before the collision, but police could not confirm, citing an investigation.
"I saw the cops hit the car. They were speeding. They shouldn't chase on a street like this," Rivera said. "There were kids around."
Witness Tyrone Daniel said he heard a "huge impact" and then ran outside.
Daniel said he saw police pull Perkins out of the vehicle and said he was resisting while about a dozen officers had their weapons drawn.
"Even after he was handcuffed he was still trying to run," Daniel said. "I was surprised he wasn't killed."
Perkins was arrested at the scene "after a brief struggle" and charges were still pending Friday morning, police said.
Perkins has 10 prior arrests for murder, robbery, assault and grand larceny, police said, but did not immediately provide further information on those arrests.
He was released less than one month ago after a parole violation.