BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Two people are dead and three others, including a young child, were critically injured following a police chase over a reportedly stolen vehicle that ended in a head-on collision, authorities say.
According to the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office, the chase began in New Roads on the evening of Monday Oct. 26 around 6:30 p.m. and involved a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro that was reported stolen from Leak Avenue in Baton Rouge Saturday, Oct. 24. Officers with the New Roads Police Department began chasing the car, then called for assistance from the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Rene Thibodeaux says the driver refused to stop at a barricade formed by parking a deputy’s unit across two lanes of traffic, and drove past a deputy in the process of setting up a spike strip, but the vehicle did not hit the spikes.
The chase ended when the Camaro crossed over the ditch median and hit a 2000 Ford Mustang head-on in Baton Rouge on Scenic Highway near Old Rafe Mayer Road, officials say.
LSP says both drivers were killed. The two people killed have been identified as Stanlasija Brue, 17, and Thaddeus Johnson, 22, both of New Roads. Brue was driving the Camaro and Johnson was driving the Mustang, LSP says. Neither person was wearing a seat belt at the time of the wreck, investigators report.
The three passengers in the Camaro, two 18-year-old women and a 4-year-old child, sustained critical injuries and were taken to a local hospital. None of them were wearing seat belts either, police say. The two teens are not related to the child, according to investigators. It’s believed one of the teens was the child’s babysitter. There were no passengers in the Mustang, Sheriff Thibodeaux says.
Sheriff Thibodeaux says his deputies pursue cars over parish lines on a fairly regular basis, including another high-speed chase that began in Marksville and ended in Pointe Coupee Parish Friday, Oct. 23.
The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office has a detailed policy for starting a chase and a stolen vehicle is serious enough to prompt a pursuit, according to Sheriff Thibodeaux. Ending the chase is left up to the deputy’s discretion, according to the policy.
Sheriff Thibodeaux says deputies were about to call off the chase right before the crash happened because it was getting too close to the interstate and the city limits of Baton Rouge. Deputies with the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office called for help from the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office, West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Baton Rouge Police Department, the sheriff says.
At one point during the chase, at least five units from three law enforcement agencies were in pursuit of the Camaro. Sheriff Thibodeaux says no agency was able to get an officer down the road in time to deploy spike strips to stop the stolen vehicle.
The sheriff says the owner of the Camaro notified the New Roads Police Department because the owner had family in New Roads and thought the person responsible for stealing the vehicle may be headed there.
The case remains under investigation by LSP. Toxicology samples were taken from both drivers as per standard procedure.
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