LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Woman killed in crash after truck flees narcotics investigation


A woman died Tuesday afternoon when a pickup truck fleeing a police narcotics investigation went through a stop sign and crashed into her car, Louisville Metro Police said.

An eyewitness to the crash at the intersection of 39th and West Kentucky streets said multiple police cars were chasing the truck at a high rate of speed when the collision occurred.

Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley, however, said she couldn't confirm there was a high-speed chase until investigators finished reviewing the incident.

"They still have to review the in-car video," she said. "They still have to interview the officers as well as the guy who's in the hospital."

Smiley said the incident began at 1:30 p.m. when detectives were conducting a narcotics investigation at 40th Street and Broadway and a white Silverado pickup truck fled from the scene.

The Silverado was eastbound on Kentucky Street when it ran a stop sign at 39th Street in the Chickasaw neighborhood and crashed into a red Pontiac that was northbound on 39th Street, Smiley said. The impact knocked the Pontiac into a driveway three houses away.

Smiley said the woman driving the Pontiac was taken to University Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. The driver of the truck was hospitalized with what the police called minor injuries.

The police did not release the names of anyone involved Tuesday. Smiley said charges would be filed against the driver of the pickup truck.

Nita Gardner, who lives one house away from the intersection, said she was sitting on her front porch with a friend when they saw the red Pontiac approach the crossing. Just then, she said, they heard sirens "and at the same time the truck came and just smashed her."

"He rammed her, which pushed her car all the way four houses down and she flipped," Gardner said.

The truck came to rest in the yard of a home at 3813 West Kentucky Street but the Pontiac came to a stop at 3809 West Kentucky. "And the truck ran into the tree, and the police ran into the truck," Gardner said.

Smiley said the police car did not crash into the truck. She said an officer put the police car up against the truck to block the truck in after the crash.

Gardner said she holds the police responsible for the death of the woman in the car. "If the police were not chasing that man he wouldn't have did that," she said. "I don't think he woke up to say I'm going to kill this woman."

"The truck came fast first, but the police car was right behind him - not a second behind him, like right behind him," with five or six unmarked cars also following, she said.

The truck and the police cruiser ended up in Gene Sublett's front yard. Sublett said he was awakened from a nap by the sound of the crash.

He said he jumped up and opened the door to find the wreckage on his lawn, then spotted a police officer.

"He was yelling 'Freeze! Get down!'... and I slammed the door and got down because I thought it was going to be gunfire," Sublett said.