JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A deadly accident in James City County happened as a car fleeing police plowed through a busy intersection, authorities said.
Police said on Friday night, Leon Cowles, Jr. tried to avoid a traffic stop and sped through an intersection, where he collided with a van. Both Cowles and the other driver died at the scene.
The glow of emergency lights flooded the intersection of Ironbound Road and Monticello Avenue. It captured Steve Ward’s eye as he walked out of a nearby shopping center.
“As soon as we left the movie theater, I looked straight down Main Street, which is toward Opus 9 restaurant, and we saw so many red lights,” Ward said.
Around 8:50 p.m., Hamed Juma drove his cab company van south on Ironbound Road headed to the Monticello Avenue intersection. At about the same time, Cowles throttled his Dodge Avenger down Monticello Avenue going right through the intersection. He collided with the van.
Cowles died at the scene; his two child passengers survived. The driver of the van, Juma, also died at the scene. His three family members were injured, but alive.
The van also struck another car. That driver was also hurt.
Monday morning, VDOT crews fixed the pedestrian light knocked over by the accident. Outside of the broken pieces of plastic and the stain of car fuels, there’s not much of a reminder of the deadly accident. But it’s a scene Steve Ward will never forget.
“Having been around red lights a lot in my life, I don’t know if I ever seen more,” he said. “This is a pretty big deal when you have two fatalities in an accident right there in our area.”