KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Missouri, family says they’re shaken after the death of a loved one following a police pursuit.
They’re also skeptical of the narrative from authorities, saying they only heard about the chase through gossip among hospital staff.
The crash happened late Dec. 27 at a roundabout at 72nd Street and Overland Drive in Platte County. Family members said the wreck happened on the driver’s birthday.
Those relatives said they were frantically trying to get in touch with 29-year-old Genie Howard after it happened — not realizing he had been taken to a burn unit. His mother said the burns covered 70% of his body including his face.
During an interview with FOX4, Denise Forman held a letter from her son, saying it showed his growing maturity.
“In prison he got his GED, and he was the valedictorian. This last stint gave him perspective. He grew from a boy to a man,” Forman said.
That’s one reason why his family disputes the narrative from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
On Monday, MSHP shared this information: The pursuit started close to midnight on Interstate 29 northbound with a suspected impaired driver. The trooper backed off at the 72nd Street exit, approaching the fiery crash at the roundabout after it had already happened.
The family said no one notified them, and they only grew concerned because of their unanswered phone calls. They eventually found his name listed at a hospital.
“My son is burned over 70% of his body. I didn’t even recognize him, you know? The room smelled horrible. I couldn’t believe — I never thought that this was going to be the end,” Forman said.
“When I made it here, my brother stayed long enough to let me tell him I love him and then he went on. He let me and my little sister and my son come in the room, and after that, they just had to start pumping on him — like he was waiting for us to get there or something,” said Desiree Forman-Bland, Genie Howard’s sister.
“I had no idea that all of this was the result of the police chasing my son,” Denise Forman said.
The family said they only learned that Genie Howard had interaction with the highway patrol from hospital staff.
Working for you, FOX4 asked MSHP why no one notified the family. We found out that’s department policy. The highway patrol does notify families if someone dies, but it’s not standard in wrecks where someone is hurt.
It took three days for Genie Howard to die, family said, and that lack of initial information has fueled their skepticism of the pursuit story.
“I want them to be held accountable — how you got us crying, how you made my mom and dad go through things. Some people need to be reprimanded. There needs to be some more proper training,” Desiree Forman-Bland said.