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Man who shot himself to death after Church Hill crash had mental problems

Posted at 12:36 AM, Apr 14, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. -- It was a beautiful spring afternoon on Sunday, April 3, when the strangest chain-reaction crash occurred on N. 32nd St. on Richmond's Church Hill.

Shocked neighbors in the 700 block watched as the driver of the speeding Lexus that had just demolished three vehicles and critically injured an older neighbor, fatally shot himself in the head right before their eyes.

"Why?" asked one of the witnesses. "Why did he shoot himself?"

It began in the early afternoon as neighbors watched "Lloyd," as they call him, polish his beloved antique Dodge Ram pickup.

"Every day," said neighbor Eleccie Stokes. "He'd polish that truck."

That's what he was doing when the Lexus, speeding northbound, plowed into one car and then the pickup, pinning "Lloyd" below the Dodge, which slammed into his neighbor's new-to-her car, demolishing it.

One witness, who asked not to be identified, believes the speeding driver was trying to keep the older gentleman from dying in the street when he helped pull him out from underneath the truck.

"He was smacking him (in the face) when I got there" as if he was trying to revive him, he said.

When the ambulance came, the Lexus' driver went and sat in the demolished car's driver's seat.

Stokes said she came out front from her backyard after the crash.

Crash

"I was standing there across the street and I heard this, boom!" she recalled. "I said something under the truck blew up. But this boy had shot himself and fell out of the car and went to bleeding at the head."

The driver, a 34-year-old Northside man, died a little later.

According to police and witnesses, a Richmond police officer was practically within touching distance of the driver when the suicide happened.

That officer was William Turner, back on duty after being shot in the head, abdomen and hip in January of 2015 while responding to a call in the Fulton neighborhood.

When the gunshot rang out on N. 32nd Street, the Lexus' driver "fell out in front of the officer and hit the street," Stokes said.

Court records show the driver of the Lexus had an extensive record for driving on a suspended or revoked license in Henrico and Chesterfield counties.

He lived in the 500 block of Gladstone Avenue in North Side.

A police source said the driver had some mental problems and apparently was not taking his medication.

We talked to his family Wednesday, but they were still upset and didn't want to comment. But one brother said, everyone has a life - some more difficult than others.

"Lloyd" survived but was banged up badly with a broken shoulder and other injuries. He just got out of the hospital.

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