Johnathon Gilbert Death, Obituary – Johnathon C. Gilbert, 24, was killed after crashing a stolen car following a high-speed police chase early Monday morning. According to Deputy Chief Josh Webb, a Danville police officer was heading eastbound on Main Street at 12:25 a.m. on Monday when he noticed a black Mercedes sedan traveling westbound driving erratically and at a high rate of speed in the area of Main Street and Fairweight Avenue. The officer turned his vehicle around in an attempt to halt the driver of the Mercedes.
The Mercedes went northbound onto Griffin Street as the officer was performing a U-turn and plowed into the front porch of a property in the 300 block of North Griffin Street. In an attempt to establish contact with the driver, the officer came up behind the Mercedes and exited his squad car. The Mercedes reversed away from the property before the officer could make contact with the driver, and the driver drove through the front yard, back onto Griffin Street, and then westbound onto Seminary Street.
Webb stated that the officer re-entered his squad car and attempted to catch up to the Mercedes as it traveled at a high rate of speed on Seminary Street toward Bowman Avenue, and that he was several blocks behind the vehicle when he observed the driver fail to stop at the red light at Seminary Street and Bowman Avenue, continuing through the intersection. The officer was slowing down and halting at a red light in the 800 block of Seminary Street when he noticed the vehicle appear to go airborne.
The officer continued to the intersection of Seminary Street and Bowman Avenue, when he noticed the car had off the lane and collided with a tree in the 800 block of Seminary Street. The officer, along with many other Danville police officers, attempted to contact the driver in order to give assistance. The driver was unresponsive, and officials were unable to pull him from the vehicle owing to the crash. Danville Fire Department and emergency medical personnel responded to the area to retrieve the motorist, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Gilbert, the sole occupant of the vehicle, was recognized as the driver. During a subsequent inquiry, police discovered that the Mercedes vehicle had been reported stolen from Tilton. An autopsy and toxicology report are presently awaited as part of the ongoing inquiry. There were no other vehicles involved in this traffic accident, and no further injuries were reported. The investigation into this occurrence is still ongoing, and no other information has been disclosed at this time. Anyone with information about this event should contact Danville Police at 217-431-2250 or Vermilion County Crime Stoppers at (217) 446-TIPS.