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Car fleeing South Bend traffic stop crashes, killing 2 men

A shoulder patch for the South Bend Police Department. (Image Provided/South Bend, Indiana, Police Department via Facebook)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A car carrying two men that fled a northern Indiana traffic stop crashed into a tree less than 30 seconds later, killing both men, police said.

The St. Joseph County Fatal Crash Team said Tuesday that Rashaun Mason, 21, and Jurrell Fedrick, 26, died early Sunday following the crash in South Bend. Mason was pronounced dead at the scene, while Fedrick died at a hospital.

The crash team said in a news release that Mason was driving the car, which officials say accelerated away from a South Bend officer who tried to stop the vehicle for having a headlight that was out.

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said Tuesday that he and other department command staff have reviewed the footage from the officer’s in-car camera and believe the incident was “not even a pursuit,” the South Bend Tribune reported.

Ruszkowski said the vehicle, a Kia, not only had a missing headlight, but also turned its lights off completely when the officer approached. He said the officer tried to make a U-turn to make the traffic stop, but by the time that happened, the Kia was out of sight, effectively stopping the pursuit before it started. Police said the Kia crashed less than 30 seconds later.