Man killed by driver fleeing from police had gone out to get ice cream for girlfriend’s kids

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thomas Colatrella's Saturday night began at his girlfriend's house in the Old Northeast part of Kansas City.

"The kids were a little fussy," said April Mercer, mother of four, "so Thomas offered to go get them ice cream spur of the moment."

Thomas Colatrella's Saturday night- and his life - ended just three blocks away, at the intersection of Smart and Monroe. Kansas City police were pursuing a Toyota truck believed to be part of an aggravated assault. The Toyota driver ran the stop sign at Smart and Monroe.

At that moment, Colatrella's Chevrolet Impala drove through that intersection, and right into the police chase. The force of the Toyota truck pushed the Impala into a stone wall. That wall still shows the damage from the impact.

Police did catch the suspect in the Toyota a few feet away from the crash scene. A witness told FOX4 the man sat in handcuffs and watched the police perform CPR on Colatrella.

Late on Sunday afternoon, Jackson County prosecutors charged the 22-year-old suspect with involuntary manslaughter. Samuel Delozier faces the manslaughter charge for the crash, and police say the truck he was driving was tied to a shooting that happened on August 10. Charges in that case haven't been announced yet.

Samuel Delozier's mug shot

Mercer and her children heard the entire accident.

"We see the lights. We don't think anything of it. Because this is a bad neighborhood. This happens all the time."

Hours later, with no Colatrella and no ice cream, did Mercer learn what happened. "That he died in a police pursuit that he was not a suspect of," she said.

She continued, "Somebody probably had a broken nose or something like that, and my boyfriend died for it."

Mercer remembered the Hamilton, Mo.-native Sunday afternoon. "He was very loud, Italian to the core, he loved country music, guns, fishing, and food."

Colatrella's friends said he was a security guard after stints at several law enforcement agencies. Mercer said Colatrella treated her four children as his own.

"I don't think it's fully hit me that he's gone and that he's not going to walk through this door again."

Now, even with a full house, all Mercer hears is silence. "He was so loud," she said. "Now, it's quiet, and I don't like it."

Mercer vacillates between shock, disbelief, and anger. "I don't if I'm more angry with the suspect, or if I'm more angry with Kansas City for allowing a chase to happen."

Even though it happened in a residential area, the Kansas City Police Department says it was within its pursuit guidelines Saturday night.

Thomas Colatrella became Kansas City's 52nd traffic fatality of 2018.



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