FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The driver who led police on a chase that ended in a crash that killed himself and his passenger had a warrant out for his arrest.
According to the Allen County Coroner’s Office Juwan Latrell Benson, 20, and Simone Ashley Dufor, 21, died in a car crash while running from Fort Wayne police late Sunday night. It is unclear how the two knew each other.
According to FWPD officials, the pursuit started around 11:25 p.m. when the car went through a red light at Hobson Road and Coliseum Boulevard.
The officer tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver sped off. Police said Benson was the driver of the car and Dufor was his passenger. Benson made his way southwest through a residential area before turning east onto Vance Avenue.
About a minute after the chase started, he lost control while running another red light at Vance and Coliseum. Benson crashed into a parked truck and a utility pole before coming to a stop in someone’s front yard on Vance Avenue.
According to court records, Benson was facing felony charges of Robbery Resulting in Bodily Injury and Theft of a Firearm. A warrant was issued for his arrest in Feb. 25.
A probable cause affidavit indicates that Benson made a deal to buy two firearms back in October: one for $500, the other for $800. When Benson met up to make the purchase, the seller handed him shoe boxes with the guns inside. That’s when the driver of the car took off, while the owner of one gun held the window frame, court records said.
Benson and another man tried to pry his hands off and punched him repeatedly. That man eventually fell off the car into the street and was injured.
The officer who was pursuing the vehicle Sunday night told WANE 15 he stopped at each red light and safely cleared the intersections before continuing on, so he did not see the crash happen. As he approached the crash scene, he saw the vehicle sustained heavy damage.
Medics responded to the scene and took Benson to a hospital in critical condition. He died there shortly after arriving.
Dufor died at the scene.
An FWPD spokesperson said he’s thankful nobody else was involved or hurt in the crash.
He also said Benson was driving very fast, especially for a residential area, but investigators will have to determine a closer estimate to exactly how fast it was going when it hit the parked truck and pole.
Part of Vance Avenue was shut down and without power for several hours as utility crews worked to replace the pole and wires that were damaged in the crash.