June 16, 2017
Cause of death: Taser
Last updated: about 4 years ago
Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit officials on Monday identified the man as Joshua Terrell Crawford, and provided this account of what happened:
About 12:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15, Northport police officers responded to the 4100 block of Fifth Street, near the Farmer's Market, on a traffic wreck with injuries. While en route, they were advised that one of the drivers had walked off from the scene.
Patrol officers encountered the driver, Crawford, on Robert Cardinal Road, almost one mile away from the accident scene. Officers saw Crawford was bleeding heavily from his hands and arms. When they approached him to check on his injuries and ask about the accident, he didn't answer directly and refused to stop.
When one officer tried to stop him, Crawford swung at him smearing blood on the officer's face. Officers tried to detain him and he became very combative. An officer then used pepper spray on Crawford, which did not seem to have any effect on him.
At some point during the altercation with the two officers, one of the officers activated his emergency button requesting all available assistance. A Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office deputy was nearby and responded.
When the deputy arrived, he saw Crawford walking away from the officers and the deputy positioned his vehicle to block oncoming traffic. As the deputy exited the vehicle, other officers were attempting to detain Crawford who was swinging wildly at them. One of the officers was able to get his hands on Crawford, and Crawford struck the officer in the face.
The deputy then deployed his Taser in an attempt to gain control of Crawford, and Crawford went to the ground. When one officer attempted to handcuff Crawford, he continued to actively resist and the deputy used the drive stun technique of the Taser to gain compliance of Crawford.
After repeated attempts to handcuff Crawford, more officers arrived and Crawford was taken into custody. Crawford, of Northport, was 6-feet, 4-inches tall and weighed 294 pounds.
Officers requested emergency medical personnel to respond to check on Crawford and the injured officers.
"Crawford began exhibiting behavior seen in persons under the influence of narcotics and/or having mental episodes,'' Hart said.
Crawford was taken to DCH in Northport by ambulance. While at Northport DCH, Crawford went into medical distress and was transported to DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa and placed into intensive care. Crawford died Friday.
Authorities are awaiting an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Hart said, based on witness statements, it appears Crawford intentionally hit the other vehicle.
The passenger in the Crawford's vehicle was transported to DCH also. She was treated and released. Two Northport officers were transported to DCH for treatment to injuries sustained in the altercation with Crawford. They were later released.