Johnathon Gilbert Obituary, Death – Johnathon C. Gilbert, 24, was killed after crashing a stolen car during a high-speed police chase early Monday morning. According to Deputy Chief Josh Webb, a Danville police officer was traveling eastbound on Main Street around 12:25 a.m. on Monday when he noticed a black Mercedes sedan driving erratically and at a high rate of speed in the area of Main Street and Fairweight Avenue. The officer reversed his vehicle in an attempt to stop the driver of the Mercedes. The Mercedes turned northbound onto Griffin Street as the officer was performing a U-turn and crashed into the front porch of a residence in the 300 block of North Griffin Street.
In an attempt to make contact with the driver, the officer pulled up behind the Mercedes and exited his squad car. The Mercedes reversed away from the residence 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. The officer re-entered his squad car and attempted to catch up to the Mercedes as it traveled at high speed on Seminary Street toward Bowman Avenue, and he was several blocks behind the vehicle when he noticed the driver failing to stop at the red light at Seminary Street and Bowman Avenue, continuing through the intersection. When the officer noticed the vehicle flying through the air, he was slowing down and coming to a stop at a red light in the 800 block of Seminary Street. The officer drove to the intersection of Seminary Street and Bowman Avenue, where he discovered the vehicle had left the road and collided with a tree in the 800 block of Seminary Street.
Along with several other Danville police officers, the officer attempted to contact the driver in order to render assistance. Officers were unable to remove the driver from the wrecked vehicle because he was unresponsive. Danville Fire Department and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to the scene to assist in the extraction of the driver, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. Gilbert, the only occupant of the vehicle, was identified as the driver. During a subsequent investigation, police discovered that the Mercedes sedan had been reported stolen from Tilton. An autopsy and toxicology report are currently pending as part of the ongoing investigation.
There were no other vehicles involved in this traffic accident, and no other injuries were reported. This incident is still under investigation, and no further details have been released at this time. Call Danville Police at 217-431-2250 or Vermilion County Crime Stoppers at (217) 446-TIPS if you have any information.