Charlotte family seeks justice after father killed in alleged police chase

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte family plans to sue the City of Charlotte after they allege their father died as a result of a police chase. The person whom police believed was behind the wheel is also the suspected driver in another potential pursuit with a tragic ending.

Anthony Williams, 60, was on his way to visit his sister in Hidden Valley on Jan. 6, 2021, when his life was forever changed by a man trying to get away from police, his children said.

He was turning onto Tom Hunter Road when Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the driver of a stolen vehicle slammed into Williams head-on.

“The helicopter was in the air, the neighborhood was blocked off by police,” said Latasha Williams, one of Williams’ daughters.

She was the first relative on the scene, she said, and remembers seeing her dad’s vehicle and another SUV up against a guardrail with heavy damage to both of the vehicles.

Police wouldn’t tell her much at the scene, so she told her siblings that she’d meet them at the hospital. Her father was in emergency surgery when she arrived. His injuries were so severe that nobody was able to see him until days after the crash.

“He was unrecognizable. He was swollen, he was bandaged up, he was unconscious, he was on a ventilator,” Latasha said.

Her father suffered multiple life-threatening injuries including a broken neck, back, nose, and leg. Half of his ribs were also broken and he had emergency brain surgery to reduce swelling.

“With me being a nurse - I’ve seen these injuries, but to see it on my own dad,” she said. “It was hard to deal with.”

After a month in the hospital, he continued recovering at home until April when he collapsed while visiting his sister.

“A blood clot had traveled through and stopped his heart,” his son Anthony Williams said.

A medical examiner said the clot was caused by complications from injuries he suffered from the crash three months prior, according to a death certificate reviewed by Channel 9.

“It should have never happened,” Latasha said.

Police believed Xavier Mitchell was behind the wheel of the stolen vehicle that crashed into Williams. His children believe CMPD was chasing Mitchell moments before the crash.

“If he wasn’t being chased by police and crashed into him, he would still be here today,” Latasha said.

CMPD dispute that allegation. They said, according to their definition of a pursuit or chase, they were not pursuing Mitchell at the time of the collision.

“CMPD did not engage in a pursuit in this case,” a CMPD spokesperson said in part in a statement.

The spokesperson further explained CMPD’s reasoning for why it did not consider its interaction with Mitchell a chase.

“In this case, officers attempted a traffic stop for Mr. Mitchell after a license plate reader confirmed he was driving a stolen car out of Gaston County. Mr. Mitchell did not stop, and officers per CMPD policy, turned off their blue lights and sirens and disengaged. Mr. Mitchell fled from the attempted traffic stop in a reckless manner directly resulting in the tragic death of Mr. Williams.”

They added: “CMPD officers arrived after the accident to aid and assist the victims involved.”

The question of whether it was a chase isn’t the only issue the Williams family is upset. They family is outraged that charges against Mitchell were dropped.

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office noted there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Mitchell was the person in the driver’s seat, claiming there was a second person in the vehicle with Mitchell.

However, the police report only noted one suspect, Mitchell, was in the stolen vehicle and was the driver.

The discrepancy is why the Williams family plan to sue the City of Charlotte in order to view the body camera video from that fateful day for themselves. They want to view it to see whether there was anyone else who got out of the car Mitchell was allegedly in.

They also want the system to change.

“He [Mitchell] goes and comes out, goes and comes out,” she said, talking about his multiple arrests and time in jail. “We see him.”

Mitchell has a pattern of arrests. Channel 9 found at least 15 mugshots for him, including for a felony hit and run in June 2022. That’s when Kayla Kennedy’s life was abruptly changed, too.

Kennedy was driving in the Elizabeth suburb when police say Mitchell T-boned her in her Jeep Wrangler. She survived the crash but now walks with a walker until she can make a full recovery from a broken pelvis. Kennedy, 20, argues CMPD was chasing Mitchell again. CMPD disputes that claim, too, but said Mitchell was driving another stolen vehicle when officers tried to pull him over and he evaded officers.

“There’s something that could have been done for me to not go through this,” Kennedy said when Channel 9 spoke with her in early July.

The Williams family agrees and hopes something can be done to prevent another family from going through their pain.

“It’s sad because he can do it again,” Latasha said.

Again, Mitchell is out of jail after posting bond for his latest arrest in Kennedy’s case.

(WATCH BELOW: CMPD: Man arrested after police chase; accused of shooting, killing teen in north Charlotte)

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