A police pursuit led to a traffic fatality on Rt. 17 in Gloucester early Wednesday morning, according to state police spokesman Sgt. Michelle Cotten. Cotten said the victim, Nehemiah Theothilus Edmondson, 20, of the 300 block of River Ridge Circle in Newport News, was the driver of the 1996 Chevy Caprice that a Gloucester Sheriff’s deputy was pursuing.
Cotten said Edmondson was driving at a high rate of speed due to being pursued by an officer with lights and siren activated when the crash occurred. She said the victim was trying to make a left turn off Rt. 17 when the Caprice overturned about 200 feet north of Belroi Road. Edmondson died at the scene of the 1:22 a.m. accident. Cotten said three passengers in the Caprice were not injured and were not cooperative with the investigative agencies.
Gloucester Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Darrell Warren said one of the Caprice passengers had been in a confrontation with a Ware House Road resident between 9 and 10 o’clock Tuesday night inside of Walmart. That resident reported being harassed by the Caprice passengers around 10:30 p.m. after he returned to his Ware House Road apartment. Warren said officers responded to the man’s apartment and drove through the area a couple of times but did not see the Caprice.
Warren said the Ware House Road resident called 911 at about 1:10 a.m. to report the Caprice was back and the men in the car were banging on his apartment door and trying to gain entry but the men left before police arrived.
At about 1:17 a.m., Warren said a deputy in an unmarked vehicle saw the Caprice in the Main Street Center parking lot. He said the officer was in an unmarked vehicle and was apparently not recognized as a policeman until he drove up and exited his vehicle to talk to the men. At that point, Warren said the Caprice and headed southbound on Main Street.
Warren said the GSO officer pursued and caught a glimpse of the vehicle as it headed northbound on the Rt. 17 Bypass with its lights off. He said the pursuing officer lost sight of the vehicle as it crested the hill on the bypass. When the officer reached the top of the hill he saw the vehicle had crashed and summoned rescue personnel.
Warren also said the Caprice passengers were uncooperative and that a 36-year-old Bena resident, was charged with public intoxication. Cotten said alcohol was not a factor in the crash and Edmondson was not wearing a seatbelt.
This is the 11th traffic fatality in Gloucester in 2010.