Man charged with murder after fatal crash

Joseph Johnson on Wednesday morning.
Joseph Johnson on Wednesday morning.
Stephanie Melson
Stephanie Melson
A police cruiser and the white truck at the scene of the wreck.
A police cruiser and the white truck at the scene of the wreck.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A 63-year-old man is charged in a crash that killed an innocent mother. Joseph Johnson came before a judge on Wednesday facing a long list of charges.

Stephanie Melson was killed Tuesday near 39th and Kentucky Streets. She was on her way to lunch when it happened.

"They've taken away the mother of our three kids," said Melson's boyfriend Kerry King. "They understand but, they don't understand why their mother 31 gone already."

King and his family said making sense of what happened to Melson, his girlfriend of more than 14 years and the mother of his three children has been more than difficult.

"Most of the time it's never the person they are pursuing it's innocent bystanders," said King.

Tuesday around 1:30 p.m. near 40th Street and Broadway, LMPD 2nd Division flex officers were conducting a narcotics investigation when a marked cruiser assisted them and attempted to stop a car driven by Johnson. Police said a very short pursuit  ensued, lasting  less than one minute, Johnson disregarded a stop sign at 39th and Kentucky Streets and struck Melson's red Pontiac. Melson was going through the intersection.

Officers then blocked Johnson's truck with their cruiser.

Melson was taken to University Hospital where she died.

Johnson was taken to Metro Corrections.

In jail court, Johnson's attorney asked the judge to lower his $500,000 bond saying he wasn't a flight risk and required dialysis three times a week. The prosecutor didn't see it that way and his bond remained at half a million dollars.

Police said they found a large amount of suspected cocaine in Johnson's truck. Police also found firearms, suspected cocaine and cash from his home on north 43rd Street.

A small memorial of balloons, flowers and teddy bears were at the scene on Wednesday.

King said he's left with many questions.

"Louisville Police Department, how they are pursuing people through these neighborhood and houses are so close the streets aren't that wide," said King. "Someone loosing their life for nothing, a drug case it's nothing."

No officers have been placed on administrative leave.

Johnson is facing multiple charges including murder, fleeing and evading, trafficking a controlled substance and receiving a stolen firearm.

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