Three killed in fiery crash while fleeing WBR deputies; suspects were armed, wearing body armor
FORDOCHE - A group of suspected criminals crashed a stolen car into a tree while fleeing deputies in West Baton Rouge early Thursday morning, leaving three of those suspects dead.
The chase started shortly before 4 a.m. after deputies spotted a suspicious vehicle while patrolling LA 415, an area plagued by break-ins and car thefts, according to the sheriff's office.
After confirming the car had been reported stolen out of Alexandria a day earlier, deputies tried to perform a traffic stop. The driver refused to pull over and headed north on 415 before taking US 190 into Pointe Coupee Parish, reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour.
Deputies lost track of the vehicle during the pursuit, but it was soon found crashed into a tree and engulfed in flames on LA 77.
The crash happened in front of resident Dennis Going's front door, and he says the loud noise woke him up. He also says crashes like this one are common along the stretch.
"I've been here for seven years now, and that curve right here is not a bad curve. But if you're not expecting it, it's hard to recover from," Going said.
They were able to remove two of the occupants from the car, but had to stop after ammunition inside the vehicle started going off. Once the fire was out, first responders found the bodies of two other occupants inside.
"While we were standing [in the yard] rounds started going off in the car, and it was like pop, pop, pop, a lot of good popping where bullets were exploding," Goind said.
As they pulled the occupants from the wreckage, deputies learned the suspects were wearing bulletproof vests, Sheriff Mike Cazes said during a news conference later that same afternoon.
"Even though they're bad guys, they had body armor — and thank God they didn't make a stop and get out and ambush my deputies — we went there and they rendered first aid," Cazes said. "Those guys were up to something no good."
Three of the suspects were pronounced dead at the scene, and a fourth was hospitalized with serious injuries.
Authorities have not yet released the names of those involved in the chase.
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