The driver involved in a high speed chase last week has died.
Alexander Warren Thompson of Braswell Road, Smithfield was involved in a pursuit with Johnston and Wilson County authorities last Thursday afternoon before running off Bizzell Grove Church Road near US 70. His 2002 Dodge truck struck a fire hydrant and stopped beside the roadway.
The 37 year-old man was reportedly tasered by a Kenly Police officer during a confrontation at the end of the pursuit. Thompson stopped breathing and paramedics rushed to the scene to transport him to the hospital. WTSB News has learned that Thompson died Sunday at Wake Medical Center.
Kenly Police Chief Josh Gibson told WTSB News on Monday he would not comment on the incident, saying it was currently under investigation by the NC SBI, Highway Patrol and Kenly Police Department.
Chief Gibson said the officer, Detective Jess Santifort, a member of the department for 6 years, has been placed on administrative leave with pay, which Gibson called standard procedure.
Chief Gibson did confirm the pursuit was started by Wilson County and the Kenly Police Department joined in the chase to assist. He said he hopes the investigation can be completed within 2 to 3 weeks.
Last Friday, one day after the pursuit, Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock, at the request of the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office, signed an order barring the release of 911 records of the radio traffic of the chase for 30 days.
The court order, requested by Assistant District Attorney Kelly Sandling contends the release of the recordings would “jeopardize the right of a defendant to receive a fair trial and will compromise and undermine an ongoing investigation.”
Funeral arrangements for Thompson are being handled by Casey Funeral Home in Princeton.