CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Authorities are currently looking for a driver who fled following a fatal three-vehicle crash on I-64 in Chesapeake that killed a Western Branch track star.
The incident began as a Chesapeake Police officer was patrolling the interchange on I-64 and I-464 just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday when he saw the suspect vehicle, a 2016 Chrysler 200, traveling at a high rate of speed with the headlights turned off.
In a press release from Chesapeake Police, the officer initiated a traffic stop suspecting the driver was driving under the influence. The suspect vehicle initially stopped, but sped off when the officer’s vehicle approached, the release said.
It resulted in a pursuit as the suspect vehicle continued eastbound, past the High Rise Bridge.
At that same time, Virginia State Police was working a prior crash on the eastbound traffic of I-64, mile marker 299, at the I-264 split. The initial crash restricted traffic to one lane.
Two vehicles, a 2005 Honda Accord and a 2013 Toyota Scion, were caught in the traffic that was held up by the prior crash.
As the pursuit between Chesapeake Police and the suspect vehicle entered the slowed traffic, officials say the suspect vehicle struck the Accord and caused the Accord to strike the Scion in front of it.
The Accord was driven by Jahsani Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste was a recent graduate of Western Branch High School. He was a track star and had a scholarship to Wingate. A vigil is planned for him at 7 p.m. Friday at Western Branch’s track.
The impact of the crashes caused the Honda Accord to catch fire and become fully engulfed. Officials say the driver of the Accord died at the scene. The driver and passenger of the Toyota Scion were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Officials say the driver of the suspect vehicle, the Chrysler, fled the scene on foot into a nearby wooded area. Efforts are still underway to locate the suspect.
There is no suspect description at this time.
We looked at the Chesapeake Police Pursuit policy and it says a chase can be started if there is an “inherent danger to the public.” A chase can be called off for the same reason.
The decision to initiate pursuit must be based on the officer’s reasonable belief
that the pursued subject presents a clear and present danger to the safety of the
public, and the necessity for immediate apprehension outweighs the level of
danger created by the pursuit.