A passenger in a vehicle that was the subject of a police chase in suburban Aurora Wednesday is facing attempted murder charges in connection with a shooting that led to the pursuit, officials announced Thursday evening.
Police also said that the driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old Erik Esparza of Aurora, was killed in the crash that occurred after police terminated the pursuit.
Adrien Betsinger, 23, was a passenger in the vehicle that led police on the chase, and was injured in the crash. He is facing felony attempted murder charges, as well as one felony count of aggravated batter with a firearm, six felony counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, and one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
According to police, officers responded to a call of shots fired just after 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the 600 block of South Broadway. While responding to the scene, officers spotted a vehicle that matched the description of a car that was involved in the shooting.
Officers attempted to pull over the vehicle, but it fled. Police say that the vehicle had been involved in a second shooting Tuesday night, and as a result officers were allowed to pursue the vehicle.
During the pursuit, the vehicle was driving into oncoming traffic along East New York Street. Officers terminated the chase as the vehicle approached the intersection of New York Street and Route 59. A short time later, the vehicle was involved in a multiple-vehicle crash near the Fox Valley Mall.
A total of three people were inside of the vehicle involved in the shooting, according to police. The driver, Esparza, died at a nearby hospital. Another occupant of the vehicle was listed in critical condition, while a third was listed in stable condition.
A person in one of the other vehicles involved in the crash was hospitalized with minor injuries, police said.
An investigation into the shooting, as well as the chase, continues.
The 35-year-old man allegedly shot by Betsinger walked into an Aurora hospital, and is being treated. Police believe the shooting was gang-related.