D.A. Vance Announces Murder Charges in High-Speed Crash on West Street

February 5, 2019

Defendant Drove Nearly 4x the Speed Limit Before Fatal Six-Car Crash

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the indictment of SHERMAN HARRISON, 37, for killing 57-year-old Amy Phillipson in a six-car crash on West Street while driving at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour. HARRISON is charged in a New York Supreme Court indictment with Murder in the Second Degree, Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting, and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition. [1]

“The defendant is charged with murdering Ms. Phillipson in a horrific crime of traffic violence,” said District Attorney Vance. “As this indictment alleges, he barreled down West Street at an outrageous speed – nearly four times the legal limit – and slammed into her SUV with such force that it caught fire and incinerated her. As this case tragically shows, this kind of driving poses a lethal danger to New Yorkers and will be prosecuted accordingly.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, at approximately 7:20 a.m. on December 29, 2018, HARRISON was driving a 2012 Audi A6 northbound at an excessive speed on West Street near Hubert Street. The defendant struck Ms. Phillipson’s 2003 Honda CRV from behind at a speed of approximately 113 miles per hour near the intersection of West and Laight Streets, causing her SUV to mount the center median, flip over, and catch fire with Ms. Phillipson trapped inside. Minutes later, paramedics arrived and pronounced Ms. Phillipson dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, HARRISON continued driving northbound on West Street and struck a second vehicle, which subsequently collided with a third vehicle. The resulting impact caused HARRISON’s car to spin out and strike two parked cars before coming to a stop on West Street between Hubert and Laight Streets. The defendant then exited his car and fled eastbound on Hubert Street by foot. An eyewitness identified HARRISON to an NYPD officer, and he was subsequently arrested and transported to Bellevue Hospital to be treated for minor injuries. None of the other drivers sustained serious injuries.

At the time of HARRISON’s arrest, NYPD officers found several rounds of ammunition in his car, including a loaded .40 caliber magazine and two loaded .9MM magazines.

Assistant D.A.s Stuart Silberg, Deputy Chief of Trial Bureau 30, and Shira Arnow, also of Trial Bureau 30, are handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Lisa DelPizzo, Chief of Trial Bureau 30, and David O’Keefe, Deputy Chief of the Trial Division, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Assistant D.A. John Wolfstaetter, Chief of Courtroom Technology, is also assisting with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD, particularly Detective Peter Jarvis of the Collision Investigation Squad, as well as the Virginia State Police and the Maryland State Police for their assistance with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.


Defendant Information:


Upper Marlboro, MD


  • Murder in the Second Degree, a class A-1 felony, one count
  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting, a class D felony, one count
  • Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, an unclassified misdemeanor, one count