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SPD: 2 killed in South Side crash by drunk driver fleeing cops

Eric Dempsey has been charged with two counts of manslaughter and unlawful fleeing a police officer. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said two people were killed when an intoxicated driver fled officers and struck a vehicle at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Tallman Street just before 7 p.m. Friday. (Syracuse Police)

A Syracuse man is facing charges of manslaughter after two people were killed in a collision on Syracuse's South Side.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said two people were killed when an intoxicated driver fled officers and struck a vehicle at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Tallman Street just before 7 p.m. Friday.

Fowler said it all began as a simple traffic stop in the area of Shonnard and West Street when officers tried to pull over a vehicle driven by 39-year-old Eric K. Dempsey. Fowler said Dempsey briefly stopped, but then sped off when the officers got out of their patrol car.

A brief pursuit ensued with Dempsey driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed, Fowler said Saturday morning. It ended when Dempsey collided with a vehicle in the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Tallman Street. Fowler noted that Dempsey had driven through a stop sign, while the other vehicle had no stop sign at the intersection.

Two people, a 49-year-old man and a 22-year-old man, inside the vehicle that was struck died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash, Fowler said. Dempsey was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries before being sent to the Onondaga County Justice Center.

Dempsey is facing two counts of manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter, as well as charges of Driving While Intoxicated and Fleeing a Police Officer, in addition to multiple traffic violations, Fowler said.

When asked about the DWI charge, Fowler did not say whether Dempsey had taken a breathalyzer test, but said, "It's clear to us he was intoxicated."

Dempsey was arraigned on the charges in Syracuse City Court.

A previous version of this article state the younger victim of the crash was 24 years of age, as was initially stated by Syracuse Police. Police have since corrected his age to be 22. This article has been changed to reflect that correction.

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