Investigation launched after car plows into light poles, killing driver

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) A memorial marked with flowers, candles and rosary beads sits at Second and Cecil B. Moore where a horrifying crash  one week ago left one man dead and the street filled with debris after his car plowed into several light poles and a building before exploding into flames.

The victim was trapped inside and so badly burned the car had to be taken to the medical examiner’s office to remove the body. Philadelphia Police have now identified the driver as 39-year-old John Dawkins IV from Stenton. He died from injuries suffered in the violent crash, which remains under investigation.

“They was chasing him. The police officers were chasing him, I don't know why,” one witness explained.

That's what one witness told reporters the morning of the crash. Philadelphia Police now tell FOX 29 that Dawkins had been pulled over on Cecil B .Moore moments before for a traffic violation.  Police say he then fled the scene. The officer who pulled Dawkins over radioed in that the driver fled and announced he was not pursuing Dawkins. Department policy prohibits police pursuits for traffic violations.

"The impact was so severe. The trunk of the car was in the middle of the block where it is right here," a witness said.

Sources tell FOX 29 the Police Accident Investigation district and PHA police internal affairs officers are now trying to determine if a Philadelphia housing authority police cruiser was pursuing Dawkins after he fled the car stop by Philadelphia Police.

Sources say a PHA cruiser has been identified through surveillance video near the scene. Those sources say a GPS tracking device from that PHA cruiser showed it was driven at a high rate of speed that night. 

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