Man dead, parolee charged after police chase in downtown Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A police chase early Friday morning ended in a crash in downtown Rochester that killed a man.

Police say more charges are possible against Preston who was already out on parole when one man was hit and killed during a police chase.

A police chase early Friday morning ended in a crash in downtown Rochester that killed a man named Benji Martinez.

Rochester Police responded to shots fired on Dewey Avenue just before 2 a.m. They attempted to pull over who they say is parolee Kendre Preston, 27.

However, police say the suspect took off and ran multiple red lights.

Interim Police Chief David Smith said the pursuit continued for three minutes until the suspect crashed into another vehicle at 2 a.m. on the Main St Bridge. The man in the other car, identified by police Friday night as Benji Martinez, 46, of Rochester, was killed in the crash.

Preston was seriously injured in the crash and is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries in the hospital, where he was arraigned on Monday afternoon.

Police say they recovered a loaded Mac-11 with a high-capacity magazine that was painted multiple bright colors in what police say was an attempt to make it look like a toy gun.

They say they also recovered fentanyl and suboxone that was packaged for sale.

Police say Preston is currently on parole for a 2017 criminal possession of a weapon conviction where he was sentenced to six years in prison and five years of post-release supervision. He was paroled in January of 2021 before being re-incarcerated in September for violating his parole, police say. He was most recently released in November.

He was charged with second degree manslaughter, second degree vehicular manslaughter, second degree criminal possession of a weapon and driving while intoxicated.

RPD is investigating how fast the suspect’s car was going, other factors that led to the crash, and more on the shots fired prior to the crash.

Rochester Police offered the following play-by-play of what they say occurred:

  • 01:51 a.m. – ShotSpotter activation for three gunshots in the 1300 block of Dewey Avenue.
  • Thirty seconds later, ShotSpotter activation for one gunshot in the 1000 block of Dewey Avenue.
  • An officer on an unrelated traffic stop observed a silver Jeep driving with no headlights at a high rate of speed and heard shots fired from the direction of Dewey Avenue.
  • The camera room located the suspect vehicle on Dewey Avenue.
  • The camera room observed the same suspect vehicle eastbound on Driving Park Bridge.
  • 01:55 a.m. – ShotSpotter activation for the 200 block of Avenue A.
  • 01:57 a.m. – Officers located the vehicle at Joseph Avenue / Wilkins Street; attempted a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled.
  • The vehicle pursuit followed for approximately 3 minutes.
  • The vehicle traveled past a red light at Saint Paul Street / West Main Street colliding with an un-involved vehicle.
  • The driver of the un-involved vehicle died as a result of the crash.
  • The suspect was transported to Strong Hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

Listen to the chief’s full press conference in the video in the player below (mobile users, click here):

At the time of the collision, officers were more than 600 feet behind the suspect vehicle.

The Rochester Police Department Technicians processed the scene throughout Friday morning.

The Monroe County District Attorney is reviewing the incident for potential criminal charges against the suspect driver.

The Rochester Police Department’s Professional Standards Section is conducting an internal investigation.

Police said more information will be released as the investigations progress.

Listen to the Broadcastify audio of the police radios in the video in the player below (mobile users, click here):