New Haven police released home surveillance video Monday to NBC Connecticut that investigators said sets the record straight about a deadly motorcycle accident in July.
The video shows 28-year-old Tywan Samuels was not being pursued by police, but rather performing a stunt at a high rate of speed moments before the deadly crash, investigators said.
Friends who said they come to the memorial where Samuels died on Sherman Parkway every day told NBC Connecticut that Samuels was a highly skilled motorcycle rider.
“From riding with him for so many years, he wouldn’t just lose control the way they’re saying he lost control,” Bryce Barnes said. “He knew what he was doing on a bike.”
New Haven Police said false accusations have been made on social media stating Samuels died because officers had been pursuing him.
“All we want is the footage to prove that, they’re saying they didn’t chase him, we just want the footage released that shows that they weren’t chasing him,” Barnes said that.
“It is a tragic accident,” Lt. Karl Jacobson of the New Haven Police Department said. “We feel for the family, and our condolences to the family, but the police were not involved.”
The home surveillance video made public was recorded five houses down from the scene of the crash, police said.
“It shows the dirt bike operated by one male performing a wheelie at a high rate of speed,” Officer Robert Dupont from the NHPD traffic division said.
Seven seconds after Samuels flies by, the video shows other cars travelling at slower speeds. Police said none are undercover police vehicles.
“We don’t chase the bikes,” Jacobson said. He added to crack down on reckless motorcycle riding in the city police will take videos of operators and later try to arrest by warrant.
Jacobson said police are not able to return the bike to Samuels’ family because it was reported stolen out of East Haven. Police are not saying Samuels stole it, but they just can’t release it now.
Police are urging caution from motorcycle riders on New Haven’s roads.
“We don’t want this to happen,” Jacobson said. “There’s been a few deaths in New Haven and we’re familiar with Mr. Samuels, a very good rider and I understand that, but it’s late at night, that’s a tough road to operate on,” Jacobson said.
Back at the memorial, friends said Samuels’ sudden death came a week after the birth of his second child, a baby boy.
“We doing as best we could, but everybody is struggling,” Barnes said.