A slew of charges have been filed in both Camden and Philadelphia against the brazen young couple accused of leading police on high-speed chases in two stolen police cars. The pursuits, which reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, started in South Jersey and ended in Philadelphia.
Blake Bills is charged with attempted murder, carjacking, eluding and two counts of aggravated assault by auto, unauthorized use of a vehicle, recklessly endangering another person and driving under the influence. Shayna Sykes is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, fleeing and eluding police, driving under the influence, two counts of theft, receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of an auto. conspiring to steal a car and joyriding.
The first chase started Tuesday morning around 9:50 right in front of police headquarters in Camden.
Officer Sekou Reid-Bey was in the middle of a traffic stop. He'd pulled someone over and was talking to the driver.
“As [the officer] was interviewing the driver of that car, he heard his car door shut,” said Camden Police Chief John S. Thomson.
Bills, 24, jumped into Reid-Bey’s cruiser and drove into the officer, breaking one of his legs, according to investigators.
Prosecutors say Bills then drove around the block, picked up Sykes, 23, and the two fled, with police in pursuit. They raced first into Pennsauken on Admiral Wilson Boulevard, then back in the opposite direction and over the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Pennsauken police peeled off the pursuit at that point and Philadelphia police picked up the chase.
Bills and Sykes crashed the Camden Police car at 7th and Norris in North Philadelphia, according to investigators. Then while police were arresting Bills, Sykes got behind the wheel of a Philadelphia Police car and took off.
"I never heard of anyone stealing two police cars in one incident," said Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
It is standard protocol for officers to leave their engines running at a scene, for their own protection, according to the department.
Sykes hit four other cars while she was on the run, police say, and one woman fell and hit her head, trying to get out of the way during the chase. With guns drawn, police surrounded Sykes in the 1100 block of Hope Street on the edge of Northern Liberties, and took her into custody.
“She was trying to fight with them so she could escape them,” tow truck driver Felix Vargus told NBC10’s Claudia Rivero.
The two-state ordeal lasted about 30 minutes.
Sykes and Bills are jailed in Philadelphia. He's being held on $500,000 bail. Sykes is being held on $342,000 bail and has been appointed a public defender. Officials also say she's already had two previous DUI's and has been on probation from one of them in Lehigh County.
They face additional charges in Camden, where they are suspects in a third police chase that happened on Sunday, after an officer tried to pull the couple over for allegedly buying drugs in a stolen car. Investigators say Sykes left the couple's seven-month-old son with her grandmother in the Lehigh Valley on Saturday and took the woman's car.
"The two of them together are bad news," said Pat Ferguson, a neighbor of Sykes grandmother in Macungie, Pa., where the couple lived.