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Court Records: Detectives Used OnStar To Locate Vehicle Allegedly Used In Trooper Dragging

On Monday, February 25, 2019, at approximately 2:00 p.m, the Delaware State Police Troop 2 Criminal Investigative Unit, Major Crimes (CIU) became aware of an incident involving a Trooper being dragged by a vehicle, according to court records.

A CIU Detective that investigated the incident said that upon his arrival at the scene, multiple patrol troopers had secured the scene and multiple CIU detectives were attempting to identify the fleeing vehicle via video surveillance and witness statements. The victim was only identified as Delaware State Trooper, Cpl/3, a uniformed patrol trooper assigned to Troop 6, in the records.

Through witness and victim statements, it was determined that the traffic lights at Kirkwood Highway (Rt 2) and Farrand Drive (Wilmington, NCC, DE) were not working due to high winds. The Trooper was dispatched to the intersection to provide manual traffic control at the intersection and was attempting to have the vehicles on Kirkwood Hwy continue east and westbound, while forcing the vehicles on Farrand Drive to turn right. His patrol vehicle, with flashing patrol lights, was parked in the middle of the intersection, blocking traffic, and he was wearing a bright yellow traffic vest. During the course of his directing traffic, an unknown black SUV disregarded the Trooper directions and attempted to drive through the intersection, said the Detective.

The Trooper stopped the vehicle in the middle of the intersection for her safety and in order to prevent her from driving into on-coming traffic, due to the lights malfunctioning. The female operator rolled down her window and they had verbal contact. At one point, the Trooper asked the operator for her license, registration and insurance. However, the female operator refused to provide the requested documentation, according to the records.

The records state that the woman then started to drive away as the Trooper was leaning against the driver’s side door. As she began to accelerate, he grabbed onto the driver’s side car door because he was in fear of being pushed into on-coming traffic, said the Detective.

The Trooper yelled verbal commands to the driver to stop the car. The operator replied, No and continued to accelerate faster as she crossed through the intersection, continuing onto Farrand Drive towards Kirkwood Gardens, the Detective said in the reports.

The Trooper, still holding onto the car, continued yelling for her to stop the car, to which she again responded, No. The Trooper stated the passenger in the vehicle was trying to get the operator to stop, but she also ignored the passenger’s pleas. As they approached Kirkwood Gardens, The Trooper feared that she was steering towards the brick Kirkwood Gardens neighborhood sign in an attempt to force him from the vehicle, said the Detective. Due to this fear, the Trooper let go of the car and fell onto the roadway, rolling towards the grassy median where the brick sign is located.

The Detective said the vehicle continued to flee towards the Kirkwood Gardens neighborhood, turning left onto Hammond Place. The Trooper described the operator as a black female, middle aged in her 40s, wearing brown eye glasses. The front passenger was described as a black female in her 20s, possibly the operator s daughter.

Directly after the incident, a limited description of the suspect vehicle was dispatched to patrol troopers. It was described as a black SUV with two black females, fleeing into the Kirkwood Gardens neighborhood. A patrol trooper in the area stopped a vehicle which he believed matched the description. The vehicle stopped was a black 2011 Cadillac SRX, bearing Delaware registration.

“The vehicle was being driven by a black female in her 20 s, a male front seat passenger,… and an unknown passenger in the backseat. However, due to the lack of information at the time, the trooper did not suspect that this vehicle was involved in the incident and released same”, said the Detective in his statement. “It should be noted that there appeared to be marks/scratches on the driver s side door.”, added the Detective.

Based on a review of video surveillance obtained from surrounding businesses, the suspect vehicle appeared to be a black Cadillac SRX, between model years 2010-2016. One witness stated the vehicle had a four digit license place, all letters, one of which was the letter Y.

Further investigation showed the initial Cadillac stopped by the trooper also has a vanity tag of YIRA registered to it. The owner of the vehicle, Yira Graciano-Toala is a black female, 52 years of age.

The Detective said it should be noted that one can only enter/exit Kirkwood Gardens from either Farrand Drive or Milltown Road. The vehicle entered the neighborhood from Farrand Drive and was not observed again exiting Farrand Drive.

On the opposite side of the neighborhood, there are two streets to which you can exit onto Milltown Road, they are Hartley Place and Owen Drive. The above vehicle is registered to a home near the Hartley Place exit, said the Detective. When the patrol trooper initially stopped this vehicle, he first observed it at Milltown Road and Limestone Road (Rt 7), according to the records. The vehicle was ultimately stopped at Dickinson High School, 1800 Milltown Road, eight minutes after the initial call for assistance was made by the injured Trooper.

Video surveillance obtained shows the vehicle pulling into the driveway of the registered address and then leaving within the eight minutes between the time of the incident and the time of the stop, according to the court records.

A search warrant for the above-mentioned vehicle was obtained through the Justice of the Peace Court 2 on Monday, February 25, 2019, in order to obtain evidence related to this crime. However, law enforcement was unsuccessful in locating the vehicle utilizing traditional surveillance techniques, said the Detective.

As a result, on Thursday, February 28, 2019, Detectives sought and obtained a search warrant authorizing the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) provided by OnStar via the vehicle’s VIN number. On the same date, a residential search warrant for a home in the unit block of Hideaway Path, New Castle was approved by Justice of the Peace Court 2 as that is where the OnStar GPS vehicle locating service registered as the vehicle’s location, according to the records.

At approximately 9:00 p.m., the vehicle, a 2011 black Cadillac SRX,  with a matching VIN number, was located in the garage of the residence, according to police. The owner of the residence is the sister of the vehicle s registered owner, Yira Graciano-Toala, added the Detective. At that time the vehicle was seized as evidence, State Police were advised the owner, Yira Graciano-Toala, dropped the vehicle off at the residence on Monday Monday, February 25, 2019, between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The vehicle had damage (scratches and dents) on the driver s side door, consistent with that of the Troopers position during the course of the incident, according to Detectives.

On Friday, March 01, 2019, Delaware State Police Troop 6 front desk received a phone call from the constables at Wilmington Hosptial  Emergency Room (WER). Troopers were advised that Yira Graciano-Toala arrived at WER for symptoms of a panic attack due to her involvement with the trooper being drug by a vehicle, said the Detective. The constables were advised by staff at WER that Yira Graciano-Toala wanted to turn herself in in reference to same. Therefore, the constables subsequently contacted DSP Troop 6, requesting a patrol trooper respond to the hospital to take Yira Graciano-Toala into custody.

A patrol trooper responded to WER and took Yira Graciano-Toala into custody without incident. She was then transported to Troop 2. The (CIU) Detective then made contact with a constable at WER.  The constable confirmed that Yira Graciano-Toala responded to WER in reference to panic attacks due to her involvement with the incident and that the constables were contacted in reference to the assisting with her turning herself into the State Police, t, according to the Detective.

Yira Graciano-Toala was charged with the following offenses:

Disregard a Police Officer’s Signal
Reckless Endangering 1st Degree
Possession of a Deadly Weapon during the Commission of a Felony
Vehicular Assault
Tampering with Physical Evidence
Reckless Driving

She was then arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court #11 and released on $15,600.00 unsecured bail.

Yira Graciano-Toala

 

 

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