DeLand, FL – Update: The man who died in a fiery rollover crash early Wednesday morning after fleeing from police has been identified as 26-year-old Justin L. Johnson of Lake Helen.
A man and a dog died early Wednesday morning in a fiery rollover crash after the man sped away from police officers who had performed a traffic stop on him.
Police were called at around 2:50 on the morning of February 1, 2017, by a tax driver who said he had a female passenger and they were being followed by her boyfriend. The taxi driver was taking the woman to Florida Hospital DeLand and according to police, “there were indications of some type of disturbance.”
A DeLand police officer was dispatched to the area and they spotted the taxi and what they believed to be the boyfriend’s vehicle following it at Plymouth Ave and Woodland Blvd. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the car, which matched the description given by the taxi driver, near Plymouth Ave and Orange Ave.
The white Chevrolet sport utility pulled over and the driver acknowledged to the police officer that he had been arguing with his girlfriend. Suspected drugs were in plain view inside the SUV, so the officer asked the man to get out of the vehicle. As the officer began to help the man get out, he started the engine and pulled the door shut on the officers hand. The man then started driving away, dragging the officer several feet before he managed to free himself. The man then sped off, leaving the officer with an injured left hand.
Around 2:57 AM, another DeLand police officer found that same car, overturned and on fire in the 100 block of S Stone St. The fire was extinguished, but the man and the dog in the vehicle were both pronounced dead at the scene. Officers confirmed that it was the same vehicle that fled from the earlier traffic stop.
Police say the investigation is ongoing and the driver hasn’t been positively identified yet. The officer who was injured was treated at the hospital and has since been released.
Additional details will be released when they become available.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.