Johnathon Gilbert Obituary, Death – After a tense police chase early on Monday, Johnathon C. Gilbert, 24, was killed when he crashed a stolen vehicle. According to a press release from Josh Webb, deputy chief of the Danville Police Department, a police officer from Danville was driving east on Main Street at around 12:25 a.m. on Monday when he saw a black Mercedes sedan driving erratically and at a high speed close to Main Street and Fairweight Avenue.

The police turned the Mercedes around in an effort to stop the driver. While the police were performing a U-turn, the Mercedes unexpectedly turned northbound onto Griffin Street and collided with a house’s front porch in the 300 block of North Griffin Street. Behind the Mercedes, the policeman pulled over his squad car, stepped out, and approached the driver. Before the officer could approach the driver, the Mercedes accelerated away from the residence, back onto Griffin Street, and then made a westbound turn onto Seminary Street.

When the officer attempted to catch up with the Mercedes, it was driving swiftly down Seminary Street toward Bowman Avenue, according to Webb. When the Mercedes ran the red light at Seminary Street and Bowman Avenue and continued through the intersection, the officer was many blocks behind the Mercedes.

The officer was slowing down and waiting at a red light when he noticed the car seem to take off in the 800 block of Seminary Street. As he passed the intersection of Seminary Street and Bowman Avenue, the officer observed that the car had off the road and struck a tree in the 800 block of Seminary Street. Along with a number of other Danville police officers, the officer made contact with the driver in an effort to provide assistance. Because of the crash, authorities were unable to retrieve the car’s unresponsive driver.

The Danville Fire Department and emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene to remove the driver, who was subsequently pronounced dead there. The sole other passenger in the vehicle, Gilbert, was identified as the driver. During a follow-up investigation, police learned the Mercedes had been reported stolen from Tilton. There is still a need for a toxicological test and additional research, including an autopsy.

No other vehicles were involved in this collision, and no further injuries were reported in relation to it. As the investigation into this incident is ongoing, no new details are being released to the public at this time.  If you have any information regarding this incident, contact Vermilion County Crime Stoppers at (217) 446-TIPS or the Danville Police Department at (217) 431-2250.