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Driver who caught fire after being Tasered facing charges

Posted at 4:12 PM, Feb 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-09 19:35:20-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield police have charged a 26-year-old Richmond man with eluding police and driving after forfeiture of license after a weekend police chase that ended when the suspect's car flipped and he was Tasered by an officer.

Officials said an officer had pulled over the driver of a 2012 Volkswagen sedan for suspicion of DUI in the 7200 block of Jefferson Davis Highway early Sunday morning. When the officer walked toward the car, police said the driver, later identified as 26-year-old Miles Z. November, sped off down south on Jefferson Davis Highway.

A chase ensued and police said November lost control of the car around midnight on the  bridge, just north of the intersection of Jefferson Davis Highway and Chester Road. The car rolled several times and traveled about 100 feet before coming to a stop at a median.

Crash closed Chester Road at Jeff Davis Highway.

Crash closed Chester Road at Jeff Davis Highway.

The suspect, who was the only person inside the car, was trapped inside. Police managed to free November from the wreckage, but officials said that once he was outside the car, he struggled with officers. As a result, police said that one officer discharged his Taser, which caused November’s clothing to catch fire.

Firefighters doused the flames and November was transported to VCU Medical Center. At last check Monday, November remained in critical condition.

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Pieces of plastic, tire tracks and charred grass litter the accident scene.

"Police have obtained warrants for November, of the 6500 block of Holliday Road in Richmond, for driving after forfeiture of license and eluding police. Investigators are still working to determine how November came to be in possession of the vehicle involved in the crash. November is not the registered owner of the vehicle, but the registered owner is known to him," a Chesterfield Police spokesman wrote in an email.

Police said that the officer who discharged his Taser has been placed on administrative leave, which is procedure because of the extent of the suspect's injuries, while the investigation is completed.

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Coral Hilborn

"The car was right here it was just a ball. It didn't even look like a car, it was torn up," said Coral Hilborn, who witnessed the accident.

Hilborn pulled up to the totaled vehicle after police said 26-year-old Miles November, who was suspected of driving drunk, lost control of a car that was not registered to him -- rolling it on a bridge near Jefferson Davis Highway and Chester Road.

“There was a man lying on the grass and all the cops were running, huddling over him,” said Hilborn. "We saw him trying to get up and after that he didn't move after that and I thought he was dead."

November's clothes caught fire after an officer used a Taser on him for fighting rescuers. Officials said November's clothing likely came in contact with gasoline.

"The police officer had no way of knowing whether that individual had been exposed to gasoline and if they had known that they would not have made the choice to use a taser," said Steve Neal, a retired Chesterfield police officer.

Neal said officers are trained on the risks of using a Taser.

"They have to make an instantaneous decision about what they're going to do and what level of force is appropriate, and often times it is appropriate to use force to make sure everybody is safe," Neal said.

RELATED: Suspected drunk driver catches fire after police Tase him

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