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Calumet Park woman charged with murder in crash death of Chicago cop

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Updated: April 17, 2014 6:53AM

A 31-year-old woman was charged with first-degree murder Saturday night in connection with a police chase that began in the south suburbs and ended with the death of a decorated 10-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.

Shanell Terrell, of Calumet Park, also was charged with possession of cannabis, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Sally Daly said.

The chase started around 1 a.m. Friday, after officers in Calumet Park saw the driver of a van commit several traffic violations and found the license plate didn’t belong to the van, a police source said.

Officer David L. Harris, 42, had just finished his shift and was on his way home when his car was hit by van in the 8700 block of South Lafayette Avenue just off the Dan Ryan Expressway. Harris, a member of a Chicago Police Department “saturation” unit dispatched to high-crime areas on the South Side, was in uniform when emergency crews arrived.

Police said they found marijuana in the van and arrested Terrell, who has a history of driving without a license and also has been convicted of theft.

A passenger, a 33-year-old Harvey man, also was arrested, sources said.

“These charges are a measure of justice for Officer Harris, as well as his family, friends and colleagues, though the pain of his loss makes the news bittersweet,” police Supt.Garry McCarthy said. “On behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, I would like to express deepest condolences to the Harris family.”

Before joining the Chicago Police Department, Harris was a Maywood police officer from 1997 to 2003. While a member of the suburban department, Harris helped capture a man suspected of shooting a Bellwood police officer and was involved in a shootout with bank robbers, police spokesman Pirsia Allen said.

A lawyer for the village of Calumet Park would not discuss the pursuit that led to Harris’ death, saying it’s still under investigation. Police sources said the pursuit was called off before the accident but did not provide details.

Ronald Rockwell, a neighbor, said Harris was known for helping his neighbors, shoveling their sidewalks, for instance, after this winter’s heavy snows.

“Just a great man,” Rockwell said, wiping away tears. “The world has lost a good soul, a good spirit, and we have so few. It’s just a waste.”

C.W. Harris, 42, also lived on the block with David Harris, who is no relation.

“The biggest thing about him, he was a great neighbor and a family man. He did his job and watched out for his children and his wife,” Harris said. “I remember him being my friend.”

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