The area of NC 16 south of Taylorsville near Fairgrounds Road was closed for hours on the afternoon and evening of Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, due to a police chase and deadly crash.
At approximately 12:18 p.m. on Feb. 1, a member of the State Highway Patrol attempted to stop a stolen 2019 Toyota Camry traveling south on NC 16 in Alexander County, according to a statement by First Sergeant Christopher D. Knox of N. C. State Highway Patrol.
Knox said the driver of the vehicle, Tod-Jaa Dazu-Juan Tilley, 38, of Taylorsville, failed to stop for lights and siren, and a pursuit was initiated. The pursuit concluded when the Camry struck the driver’s side of a 2007 Honda Pilot that was attempting to make a left turn onto NC 16 from Fairgrounds Road. The pursuit lasted less than two minutes and covered approximately 1.5 miles.
Tilley was pulled to safety by responding officers as the Camry caught fire, said Knox. He was transported by EMS to Catawba Valley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Knox said the driver of the Pilot, Clint Carlton Hoke, 62, of Hiddenite, NC, was pronounced deceased at the scene. A passenger in the Pilot, Bridget Rivers Preston, 50, also of Hiddenite, was injured and transported by medical helicopter to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Taylorsville Police Chief Michael Millsaps and Alexander County Sheriff Chad Pennell noted that their officers were en route to assist but were not in sight of the crash when it occurred. Soon after the crash, police and Sheriff’s officers, other State Troopers, firefighters, and paramedics arrived to assist those involved.
During the on-scene investigation, NC 16 was closed in the area for several hours.
Knox stated that the current charges against Tilley are as follows: Felony Flee to Elude Arrest, Possess Stolen Motor Vehicle (felony), Misdemeanor Death By Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Driving While License Revoked, and Driving Left of Center.
Tilley has a criminal history dating back to 2001 and as recent as November 2023, including convictions for the following:
• Conspiracy (felony)
• Sell Schedule II Controlled Substance (Conspiracy)
• Wanton Injury to Person/Property Greater Than $200
• Possessing Stolen Goods
• Resisting Officer
• Possess Schedule I Controlled Substance
• Possess Schedule II Controlled Substance
• Possess Schedule VI Controlled Substance
• Drug Paraphernalia – Use/Possess
• Receiving Stolen Vehicle
• Larceny Of Motor Vehicle (2022 and 2023 convictions)
• Possess/Distribute Methamphetamine Precursor.