CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – 18-year-old Jahsani Jean-Baptiste was just a few miles from home when his car was hit from behind by a suspect trying to run from police. Jean-Baptiste was stuck in traffic on the interstate at the time.
“There was an accident up ahead the interstate that officers were totally unaware of,” said Chesapeake Police Chief Kelvin Wright.
Chesapeake officers tried to pull over a suspect for suspected drunk driving. They didn’t know they were chasing him into traffic up ahead.
“I doubt they would have pursued had they known that the traffic was stopped up ahead,” Wright added.
The suspect slammed into Jean-Baptiste. The newly Western Branch graduate died at the scene. He was a track star who had just accepted a scholarship to run at Wingate.
The suspect is still on the loose. Wright says the department is waiting for DNA evidence to come back.
“It is one of those things I dare say that more officers hope does not take place,” Wright said. “They like to think that everybody is going to pull over.”
Last week, another chase by Chesapeake officers ended with a suspect killing a man and woman. The suspect was charged with double murder.
“It is deeply distressing because I know that these are preventable had the person just pulled over,” Wright added.
Wright says the department now plans to review its pursuit policy. Officers make the decision to chase based on danger to the community. They can terminate a chase for the same reason.
Both crashes will require an internal investigation.
“Innocent people’s lives are taken, because someone selfishly just decided not to do the right thing and pull over,” Wright added.