Family of driver in deadly police pursuit speaks out

Published: Jan. 14, 2012 at 3:15 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2012 at 4:52 AM EST
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Rodney Johnson
Rodney Johnson
Home where the car was stolen from.
Home where the car was stolen from.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – An innocent bystander is killed after a police chase is brought to a halt. Police say the Louisville Metro Police officer was pursuing a suspected stolen car when it crashed into a pole in the 4100 block of Dixie Highway. The driver of the car was also killed and a passenger was sent to the hospital.

The family of the teen, police say was driving the stolen car, say they are heartbroken. Their heart breaks for the pedestrian who was killed as well as their loved one, a 17-year-old boy.

Rodney Johnson says he had no idea his nephew was involved in a police chase that turned deadly until around 4 p.m. on Friday.

"One wrong mistake can turn three families upside down," said Rodney Johnson.

Johnson said he thought the 17-year-old boy was at school, but come to find out, police say Johnson's nephew and another teenager stole a car around 8:00 in the morning.

"Just young children doing stupid things and turning everybody lives upside down," said Johnson.

Police say the white Chevy Cavalier was taken out of a driveway on Poinsettia Drive. The owners started it to warm it up and just minutes later it was gone.

"I backed out of my driveway and I head down the street and my neighbor stopped me, he asked if I had seen anything because his car disappeared," said Deana Williams, who lives nearby.

Police say they spotted the car and an attempted traffic stop turned into a mile and a half pursuit. It all ended tragically on Dixie Highway when the white car lost control and hit and killed a pedestrian. Police say both teens inside were ejected. Johnson's nephew was pronounced dead at the scene. The other teenager was rushed to the hospital.

"Just the other day, I talked to him, told him to do right, straighten up, get yourself together and you should be good and graduate," said Johnson. "He ain't going to be doing none of that right now."

Johnson said he has no idea why his nephew, a junior at Pleasure Ridge Park High School, would do this.

"A tragic loss, our condolences go out to the family of the woman on the bus stop," said Johnson. "We want to apologize to the people they stole the car from, you know, we didn't raise them like that. Hopefully everybody will get their lives back one day."

No names have been released in this case. The LMPD officer involved in the pursuit has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure while departmental reviews take place.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.