HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia State Police identified the two people killed when a fleeing murder suspect crashed his car into their car on Interstate 295 in Mechanicsville Friday afternoon. Wendell E. Hayman, 65, of Kansas City, Kansas and Ethel D. Ellis, 66, of Washington, D.C., were both pronounced dead at the crash scene. Hayman and Ellis were brother and sister, according to police.
Hayman and Ellis were killed when a car driven by double murder suspect Stafford L. Shaw, 46, of Sandston, crossed over from the northbound to southbound lanes of I-295, according to Virginia State Police. Police were in pursuit of Shaw at the time. Shaw was also killed in the crash.
"The incident began around 2:50 pm when Chesterfield County Police requested State Police’s assistance with stopping a suspect in a double homicide that was traveling on I-295 north bound around the 37 mile marker," Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Vick said. "The 1997 Chevrolet Corvette [driven by Shaw] was traveling north on I-295 when the Trooper activated his emergency equipment, the Corvette sped away at an excessive rate of speed. Within seconds, the Corvette ran off the left shoulder, went through the grassy median and struck a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu [driven by Hayman with Ellis as a passenger] that was traveling south on I-295 in the left lane."
Hayman's Malibu spun around and hit a 2011 Nissan Sentra, which was then struck by a 2010 Lincoln MKZ. The Sentra and Lincoln drivers were both taken to the hospital with what police described as non-life threatening injuries.
"The Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting with the crash which remains under investigation," Sgt. Vick said.
Stafford Shaw's criminal past
Police were in pursuit of Shaw, at the time of the crash, because he was a suspect in the murders of his estranged girlfriend Morgan Rogers and their one-year-old daughter Leah.
A friend of Rogers told WTVR CBS 6 that earlier this year Shaw was arrested and charged with assaulting Rogers. That friend said Shaw was doing jail time on weekends for that crime.
Shaw was also found not guilty of assault in Henrico in 2014 and found guilty of three animal-related crimes in Richmond in 2008, according to online court records.
In 1989, he was acquitted in the murder of his 17-year-old pregnant girlfriend, according to an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Shaw was accused of stuffing Tonette Snead's body in the trunk of her car and then setting it on fire in Richmond’s East End. Shaw, who was 20, wanted Snead to have an abortion, according to court testimony at the time.
"When she chose to keep the child, he became angry, arranged for a meeting with her . . . and she never came back from the meeting," Richmond Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Learned Barry, who prosecuted Shaw's case, said. "We knew there were going to be problems. It took a while. But he showed what he was made of and that’s what’s happened here."
Barry said he was stunned when Shaw's 1989 trial ended in acquit. He said it did so because much of the evidenced burned in the fire and Shaw's close friend testified he was with Shaw that night, away from the crime scene, Barry said.
Morgan and Leah Rogers
Shaw's estranged girlfriend Morgan Rogers and her one-year-old daughter Leah Rogers were found dead inside a Chesterfield County home on Friday. Police said Shaw was wanted for their murder and violating a protective order.
"They were just a fun, loving family," cousin Michael Jones said of the mother and child. "We’re still stunned and really just in state of disbelief."
Jones confirmed Shaw was the father of the murdered child.
"I don’t understand how a father harms his daughter, I’m speechless," Jones said. "There’s no way on God’s green Earth that I can imagine a father come in and do what this man did."
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