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Motorist killed after fleeing trooper on I-95 in Henrico had no criminal history

Posted at 4:11 PM, Nov 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-14 00:29:29-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Police have released the name of a Richmond man who got out of his car and ran from police before he was struck and killed by a car on I-95 in Henrico County Tuesday night.

Virginia State Police said in a  news release that troopers located and notified the next of kin of 58-year-old Joe L. Crumel on Thursday. Crumel’s last known address was in the 1900 block of Lakeview Avenue in Richmond.

Officials said Virginia State Police Trooper J.T. Fear was dispatched to a disabled vehicle on the right shoulder of I-95 just south of the Parham Road exit around 7:50 p.m.

"When the trooper arrived on scene, Crumel was standing outside of his 2005 Acura retrieving a bicycle and other items from the trunk. As the trooper approached the driver to see what help he could provide, Crumel threw the bicycle down and began walking up the shoulder away from the trooper," Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Vick said in a news release. "The trooper repeatedly called after the man asking him, for his safety, to stop and come back to his vehicle. Crumel refused to comply and continued walking north in and out of the right northbound travel lanes."

After walking approximately a quarter of a mile up from his Acura, Crumel walked into the traffic lanes and crossed over to the median strip. For Crumel’s safety, Trooper Fear followed him into the median and again attempted to verbally engage with him.

In the median, Crumel grabbed the flashlight away from the trooper. Trooper Fear repeatedly told Crumel to return the flashlight. At this stage, Crumel was yelling at the trooper and threatening him with the flashlight. To subdue Crumel, the trooper administered OC spray and attempted to retrieve his flashlight.

Crumel threw the flashlight into traffic, climbed over the guardrail onto the shoulder of the southbound travel lanes and began walking backwards in the southbound travel lane still yelling at the trooper. Seconds later, he was struck by a southbound vehicle.

Crumel died at the scene.

The trooper was not injured nor was the driver of the vehicle that struck Crumel.

A lot of people are asking, Why did Joe Crumel make a run for it?

There's still no clear answer to that, as we've checked Crumel's history in New Jersey, Delaware and Richmond, all places where he's lived.

He has no outstanding warrants and there appears to be no sign of a criminal history.

His mail is still hanging near his apartment door on Lakeview Avenue in Richmond.

"It's really a shock sir,” said Tim Lewis, who says he can't believe that he'll never see his neighbor again.  "He kept to himself.  He didn't bother nobody, he just went about life."

Stay with and CBS 6 News for updates on this story.