High-Speed Chase Leads to Tragedy
The deaths of two women raise questions about the limits of police power.
March 30, 2007 — -- Their names were Christina and Jacqueline Becker. Their lives were just beginning -- and then they were over in an instant.
Christina and Jacqueline were the only two children of Maria Caiafa, and the youngest of four generations of women in a close-knit, big hearted Italian family from Cape May County, N.J. Jacqueline was 17, a senior in high school, and 19-year-old Christina was a junior in college. But their lives came to a tragic end on Sept. 27, 2006.
The girls were staying with their grandparents, Geraldine and Cesar Caiafa. Around 10 p.m., they went to pick up milk at the local convenience store. Jacqueline and Christina were driving a half-mile back to their grandparents' house, when another driver was tearing down the road, traveling at least 60 miles an hour, nearly double the speed limit.
Robert Taylor, who was stopped on the other side of the road with his son Michael witnessed what happened next. "I saw a car coming at extreme speed," he said. "And I was just thinking to myself, 'When is he going to slow down?' And he gets 20 yards from the intersection, and he puts his foot to the floor, and he just accelerates."
The car sped through the stop sign and exploded into the driver's side of Jacqueline and Christina's minivan. The minivan was hit with such force it was pushed at least 130 feet up the road. The Taylor's car was also destroyed, but somehow they were barely hurt.
In a bizarre coincidence, Cesar and Geraldine Caiafa drove by the accident scene, and when they arrived home, their minivan wasn't in the driveway. Cesar suspected that something was wrong, so the Caiafa's decided to call their daughter Maria -- the girls' mother. She rushed to the scene, and all three of them stood waiting.
"I looked at the cop. I said, 'That van that's up the road there, I think it's my van. Can I just go look at it?'" Cesar said.