Carjacking suspect dies fleeing KPD

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An alleged carjacker was killed when he crashed the stolen vehicle while fleeing from police in West Knoxville, authorities said Friday.

The identity of the carjacking suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, hasn’t been released. 

Although the incident involved Knoxville Police Department officers, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash because it occurred outside KPD’s jurisdiction, according to KPD spokesperson Scott Erland.

The robbery that set off the deadly chain of events took place around 5:15 p.m. Thursday at the Dollar General at 7407 Middlebrook Pike, Erland said.

“The victim, a 27-year-old male, reported that he exited the store and got into his vehicle when a male suspect opened the door of the vehicle, assaulted the victim and fled westbound on Middlebrook in the victim’s vehicle. The victim of the carjacking received medical treatment on the scene,” he explained.

The stolen car was a gray Toyota Yaris, Erland said, and it didn’t appear as though the suspect was armed.

Shortly after the carjacking was reported, a description of the vehicle was broadcast and a nearby KPD officer spotted it, he continued.

“The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle westbound on Middlebrook Pike just before Hoyle Beals Drive,” Erland said. “Once emergency equipment was activated to initiate the stop, the suspect vehicle quickly accelerated away from the officer. Due to the time of day and heavy traffic, the officer did not pursue and deactivated his emergency equipment. The suspect vehicle then ran a red light and crashed in the intersection of Middlebrook and Hoyle Beals Drive.”

He added: “All of this happened within a matter of seconds.”

The suspect was pronounced dead on the scene, Erland said. No one else was hurt during the pursuit and crash.

“With the crash occurring outside of KPD jurisdiction, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the crash, while the carjacking is under investigation by the KPD Violent Crimes Unit,” he said.

“The incident will be subject to a supervisory review and the Internal Affairs Unit will review that as well, which is standard protocol for pursuits and use of force scenarios,” Erland said. 

J.J.. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com

Published on September 17, 2021.