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VIPD: 3 Men Trying To Duck Police Traffic Stop Cause 3 Accidents; 3 People Injured

CHRISTIANSTED — Three men were arrested after police attempted to make a routine traffic stop on the bypass but instead were led on a high-speed chase of a car that crashed into a truck. One woman in a luxury vehicle was seriously injured when her car could not stop after coming upon the two crashed vehicles in the darkness. A marked police vehicle was later struck while processing the scene, with two officers injured as a result.

Three St. Croix men, including the driver of the Volkswagen Bug that initiated the first accident, were arrested after 4:07 a.m. on Saturday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Deshaun “GottaMakeIt” Stephen, 25, of St. Croix Mutual Homes, John Prince, 23, of Grove Place and Lejaurne Sonson, 30, of Estate Plessen were taken into official custody by police, according to Kirk Marshall, arresting officer.

Deshaun “GottaMakeIt” Stephen, 25, on Facebook.

The Virgin Islands Crime Initiative (VICI) tried to make a traffic stop of the Volkswagen Bug on the Christiansted Bypass about 4 a.m. Saturday, but the driver of the vehicle instead drove off at a high rate of speed heading west, Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor and other sources said.

VIPD officers in hot pursuit of the three suspects, observed the men throwing what appeared to be firearms and other items from the vehicle of the bypass, Velinor said.

“The driver lost control of the vehicle and caused a three-car accident on Contentment Road,” he said.

The suspect’s Volkwagon careened into a Ford F-150 pickup truck that was also traveling west near Contentment Road. Minutes later, a BMW vehicle crashed into one of the two disabled vehicles on the bypass.

The woman driving the BMW was seriously injured and transported immediately to the Juan F. Luis Hospital for treatment.

Police recovered two firearms and marijuana along the route the suspects traveled on the Christiansted Bypass.

But the suspects disavowed any knowledge of the weapons and claimed that they did not throw any firearms out of the vehicle, authorities said.

VIPD mug shot of John Prince, Jr., 23.

Stephen, Prince and Sonson were charged with reckless driving, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, failure to maintain a vehicle causing an accident and delaying and obstructing a police officer during the course of his duties, according to the VIPD.

Unable to post bail of $10,000.00 each, the three men were remanded to the custody of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC) pending advice-of-rights hearings.

Velinor said two officers were injured when their marked police unit was struck by another vehicle going west as they were processing the accident scene.

Lejaurne Olando Sonson, 30, of Estate Plessen, St. Croix.

A Lejaurne Olando Sonson was arrested for driving while impaired and possession of a firearm on city property in Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, North Carolina on November 24, 2019, according to WCCB-Charlotte.

Sonson, in zip code 28262, was born on December 23, 1988, according to North Carolina police records.

The crash of the Volkswagen Bug led to two other crashes on or near the scene of the first accident, according to police.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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