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Wednesday - July 12, 2017 1:00 pm

UPDATE: Winona man, who crashed into river during high-speed chase, has died Featured

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Vehicle had been reported stolen the day before.

The Winona man who crashed a stolen vehicle into Swift Creek Sunday evening has died.

DeShawn Huff had been in critical condition since the accident.

Police were in high-speed pursuit of the 19-year-old, who was going as fast as 60 miles an hour around La Crosse.

Huff lost control of his vehicle at the intersection of Norplex Drive and Hood Street, where he went into the river. 

Vehicle Pursuit Suspect in Critical Condition: On Sunday July 9th at approximately 4:50 PM La Crosse Police attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle that was reported as stolen the previous day. Officers initially attempted to stop the vehicle on 2nd St. at Grove St. The operator of the stolen vehicle (later identified as DeShawn Huff 08/28/1997 of Winona) accelerated, fleeing at a high rate of speed, south bound on 2nd St. with speeds exceeding 60 mph. The pursuit continued south onto Norplex Drive. Mr. Huff lost control of the stolen vehicle at the intersection of Norplex Dr. and Hood St. The vehicle jumped the south/west curb of that intersection and continued into the waters of Swift Creek. After entering Swift Creek, Mr. Huff was able to get out of the car as it was sinking. Several officers waded into the water and threw rescue ropes to him. He was unable to grab the ropes due to panic and eventually was unable to stay afloat. The La Crosse Fire Department Dive Rescue Team and La Crosse County Dive Rescue Team arrived within minutes of the vehicle entering the water. Mr. Huff was retrieved from the water by the dive rescue teams and was immediately transported to the hospital. Mr. Huff is still in the hospital in critical condition. La Crosse Police continue to investigate the stolen vehicle and pursuit. La Crosse Police have called upon the Wisconsin State Patrol to investigate and reconstruct the crash. La Crosse Police policy requires an independent agency to conduct the crash investigation if substantial injury occurs as part of exercising our law enforcement authority.

Posted by City of La Crosse Police Department on Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Huff did manage to get out of the vehicle and police tried to fish him out with ropes. Police, however, reported that he panicked and was unable to stay afloat. 

Minutes later, the La Crosse Fire Dept. dive team was on the scene. They found him 18 feet down, at the bottom of the river, and transported him to Gundersen Health System. 

An autopsy will be arranged to determine an official cause of death.


Last modified on Thursday - July 13, 2017 4:26 pm
Drew Kelly

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