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One person dead, another injured following LMPD car chase

LMPD Public Information Officer Dwight Mitchell
LMPD
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LMPD Public Information Officer Dwight Mitchell spoke at a press conference Wednesday night after the car crash occurred.

A crash following a car chase by a Louisville Metro Police Department officer left one man dead and another man injured Wednesday evening.

LMPD spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, an LMPD officer initiated a traffic stop at the 3300 block of Pflanz Avenue in the Portland neighborhood. Police did not explain what prompted the officer to initiate the traffic stop.

Mitchell said the officer activated his emergency equipment on the vehicle for 11 seconds, and that a man — whom police later identified as 26-year-old Coley Stotts— fled in his vehicle.

Mitchell said the officer began a vehicle pursuit.

During the pursuit, Stotts drove towards the intersection of 34th Street and Bank Street, Mitchell said. According to police, Stotts’ vehicle collided with another car in the intersection.

Both Stotts and the driver of the second vehicle were sent to University of Louisville Hospital, where the driver hit by Stotts was pronounced dead. Stotts sustained non-fatal injuries, according to police.

In a statement Wednesday, police said Stotts’ vehicle was stolen out of Indianapolis.

On Thursday police released a statement saying Stotts has been charged with murder, auto theft, receiving a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, first-degree criminal mischief, fleeing or evading police and disregarding a traffic control device.

Mitchell said the Louisville Metro Traffic Unit is investigating the case. LMPD did not release the identity of the officer or the deceased.

LMPD restrictions on car chases

Asked about whether the officer involved complied with police protocol during the incident, LMPD spokesperson John Bradley declined to provide information.

“As this investigation is ongoing (and in its early stages) we will not be making any further statements at this time,” Bradley said by email.

According to WDRB, former LMPD Chief Erika Shields added the policy in 2022 in order to reduce deaths and injuries from police chases. That followed an investigation by the Courier Journal into several deaths connected to police pursuits.

Under LMPD’s standard operating procedures on pursuits, an officer may pursue another vehicle if they have reason to believe the person has committed a violent felony, or is wanted or under investigation for committing a violent felony.

Court records show Stotts was convicted of fourth-degree assault in 2023 and has prior felony convictions, including first-degree wanton endangerment and possession of a firearm by a person with a felony conviction

Bradley did not answer a question about whether the officer was aware of Stotts’ criminal history before the pursuit began.

According to Mitchell, the officer turned off his emergency equipment as Stotts fled from the traffic stop.

LMPD policy says officers should use their emergency equipment during a pursuit.

LMPD officers have faced consequences for violating pursuit policy in the past. As reported by WDRB, in December 2023 a jury awarded $31 million in damages to the family of a man killed in a vehicle pursuit by officer Ben Sullivan.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.