A Madison Heights man died in a crash early Friday morning in Amherst County. The Lynchburg Police Department says an officer stopped a Ford Focus driven by Keith Harris for suspicion of DUI just after 12:30 a.m. Friday. Police say Harris was stopped on the John Lynch Bridge and sped away as the officer approached the driver’s side window. By the time the officer got in his patrol car to try and catch up with Harris, the car had already crashed on Route 163, South Amherst Highway. For more details continue reading to see the full press release.
Full Press Release from the Lynchburg Police Department
On May 27, 2016 at approximately 0034 hours, a Sergeant with the Lynchburg Police Department stopped a 2015 Ford Focus suspected of DUI on the John Lynch Bridge operated by Keith Brian Harris, age 36 of Madison Heights. The information known at this time from the preliminary LPD investigation, which is supported by in-car video, shows the officer approached the driver’s side window and shortly after the car sped away. Once the officer returned to his marked patrol vehicle, he attempted to catch up to the car which had left his sight. Once the officer came to the top of the hill in Amherst County on South Amherst Highway (Route 163) and Early Dr. he found the car had left the roadway and crashed. At no point was the officer in direct pursuit of the vehicle. Unfortunately, Mr. Harris died as the result of the injuries he sustained in the crash. An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Virginia State Police. The LPD is cooperating fully with the State Police investigation. Upon completion of their investigation, the LPD, as is policy, will review the matter to ensure compliance with all policy and procedures. The preliminary information indicates the officer acted properly. Until the State Police investigation is complete the LPD will not be able to comment further. The State Police have been provided a copy of the in-car video; the LPD will not be releasing that video publically until the investigation is complete. The Sergeant involved in the incident has been employed with the LPD since 2000; he was promoted to Sergeant in 2016. The Sergeant has not been placed on administrative leave and will remain unidentified until the State Police investigation is complete. Any further information about this incident will come from the Department’s PIO or the office of the Chief of Police.