BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man is dead after a two-vehicle crash during a car chase late Tuesday night, according to authorities.
The Baton Rouge Police Department identified the person killed in the crash as Jonathan Scott, a 23-year-old McKinley High graduate. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office reported the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." He ruled Scott's death a homicide.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office identified the driver being chased as Reginald Weeden, 30. Sheriff Jason Ard says detectives with the LPSO narcotics division were investigating suspected illegal activity on Walker N Rd. He added the detectives encountered Weeden during their investigation.
"Weeden assaulted two of my deputies by attempting to run them over with his vehicle while fleeing the scene," Ard said in a press release.
Investigators say Livingston Parish deputies pursued Weeden, who was driving a 2016 Dodge Charger, on Florida Blvd. Around 10:30 p.m., the Charger hit Scott, who was driving a 2004 Chevy Impala as he turned left from Florida Blvd. to Stevendale Rd. Scott was not involved in the chase.
"Speed is a factor in this crash. So, you have an innocent bystander that was proceeding to whatever destination he was going and was killed a result of this vehicle traveling down Florida Blvd.," said Sgt. Don Coppola with BRPD.
According to Coppola, Scott died at the hospital. Weeden was reportedly taken to the hospital as well. His condition is currently unknown.
Weeden faces several charges in Livingston Parish, while BRPD could add more charges related to the deadly crash. Investigations for both the initial narcotics inquiry and the crash are ongoing.
Court records show Weeden has a long and violent criminal history. He was out on bond for drug charges in East Baton Rouge Parish. A 2004 case shows investigators charged Weeden with first degree murder after he admitted to beating a man to death over a $45 drug debt. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in that case and was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Tuesday night's crash shut down the westbound lanes of Florida Blvd. at North Stevendale Rd. (between O'Neal Ln. and Old Hammond Hwy.). All lanes of Florida Blvd. were reopened early Wednesday morning. Coppola says investigators have determined speed was a factor in the crash.
Units from LPSO, the Denham Springs Police Department, BRPD, and EBRSO were all on scene.
Tim Ferguson owns Encore House Lifters and was directly across the street when the crash happened. He described hearing a major impact and then sirens less than ten seconds later. The trained paramedic says he asked police how he could help and was directed to the driver of one of the cars.
"He had some facial trauma and some potential head trauma; he was non-responsive," Ferguson said. "I just stabilized his neck and took my medic kit over there to make sure we had an airway."