Couple Charged in Police Chase "Just Wanted to be Warm"

Court hearing reveals much more about "Bonnie and Clyde" couple

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Shayna Sykes and Blake Bills saw each other in court today, as we learned a lot more about the alleged motive behind the two-state police chase. (Published Monday, Mar 25, 2013)

    The "Bonnie and Clyde" couple charged with stealing two police cruisers in two states were on a three-day drug binge and talked of quitting drugs but agreed to go out with a bang, according to written confessions obtained by NBC10's Deanna Durante.

    Shayna Sykes, 23, and Blake Bills, 24, are heading for trial after a Philadelphia judge Monday upheld most of the Pennsylvania charges stemming from the high-speed chase.

    The couple told police they had been using heroin and cocaine, and sleeping on the street in Camden, N.J., before Bills allegedly stole an unoccupied cruiser to get warm.
     
    Both expressed remorse for the wild chase, which was caught on videotape.
     
    The victims include a Camden officer left with a broken leg, a Philadelphia pedestrian injured trying to move out of the way, and a truck driver left with an injured shoulder from a collision.

    The ordeal began the morning of March 5 around 9:50 a.m. right in front of police headquarters in Camden.

    Bonnie & Clyde: The Confessions

    [PHI] Bonnie & Clyde: The Confessions
    This story was originally reported on March 25, 2013.
    Shayna Sykes and Blake Bills gave investigators quite a story in their statement after being arrested in a two-state, high-speed police chase. (Published Friday, Jul 12, 2013)

    In the confession, the couple told police they were walking along Federal and Broadway, having slept there on the sidewalk for three days.

    "We talked about quitting drugs and he said, "Okay, let's go out with a bang," said Sykes. "At one point he said we've got to do something. So I told him, 'okay, do something.'"

    What Bills decided to do was steal a police car that was parked nearby, according to the confession. Officer Sekou Reid-Bey was in the middle of a traffic stop. He'd pulled someone over and was talking to the driver.

    It is standard protocol for officers to leave their engines running at a scene, for their own protection, according to the department. Bills jumped into Reid-Bey’s cruiser and drove into the officer, breaking one of his legs, according to investigators.

    Neighbors Not Surprised By Actions Of Chase Suspects

    [PHI] Neighbors Not Surprised By Actions Of Chase Suspects
    Neighbors of Shayna Sykes and Blake Bills in Macungie, Lehigh County say the couple had been missing for more than a week. A relative, the couple lives with, had reported to two missing after her car was stolen. (Published Tuesday, Mar 5, 2013)

    "As soon as I got in I took off," said Bills. "The lights were already on. I think he ran in front of the car and I hit him and he rolled across the hood."

    Bills, who insists that he didn't intentionally strike the officer, then drove around the block, picked up Sykes, and the two fled, with police in pursuit.

    "The plan was just to get a car," said Bills. "Everything else was improv."

    "They were saying on the radio they hope we don't go over the bridge," said Sykes.

    But that's exactly what the couple did, according to investigators. 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.

    "At one point there were people on the street," said Sykes. "So to avoid hurting them, Blake drove on the sidewalk. He hit the steps of an apartment building, a tree and side swiped some cars and then came to a stop."

    Bills and Sykes crashed the Camden Police car at 7th and Norris in North Philadelphia, according to investigators.

    "He looked at me and said, 'I'm gonna run,' and that he loved me," said Sykes.

    Bills then ran out of the car and was immediately tackled and apprehended by police. Then while police were arresting Bills, Sykes got behind the wheel of a Philadelphia Police car and took off.

    "I thought if he could out run the police, I could pick him up in a police car," said Sykes. "I got in the police car and no one saw me. As I drove, I saw the police had him so I thought if I got away he would be happy I got away."

    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.

    "After the last hit on the right side, the engine was on fire," said Sykes. "As I drove it lost power. I was hoping there could be another car to take. I got out and I put my hands up but I was running. They caught me right away."

    With guns drawn, police surrounded Sykes on the 1100 block of Hope Street on the edge of Northern Liberties, and took her into custody.

    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 March 3, 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.

    After the two were arrested, police asked Bills why the couple stole the police cars in the first place.

    "I was cold and tired and I wasn't thinking clearly," replied Bills. "I don't know dude."

    "I'm sorry this happened," said Sykes. "I'm sorry for anyone who got hurt and could've been hurt. It was not our intention. It was just to stay warm."

    "I'm sorry for everything that happened," said Bills. "It was a drug-induced, stupid decision. I'm sorry. I want to stop using drugs."