‘I almost died’: Woman says she was hurt in chase by suspect who’s accused of evading police before

CHARLOTTE — Channel 9 is investigating alleged chases involving Charlotte-Mecklenburg police after attorneys said a suspect should have never been on the road in the first place.

We’ve seen several pursuits in the past few months, including a nearly three hour chase last week. Chopper 9 Skyzoom was over the chase all across Charlotte as the suspect ran red lights, drove on the wrong side of the road and crashed into two cars.

But exactly one month ago Friday, another potential chase involving a different suspect ended in a similar situation. Only this time, it left an innocent driver severely hurt.

After digging into the criminal past of the suspect in that case, Xavier Mitchell, Channel 9 uncovered that it isn’t the first time he’d been involved in a police chase that also ended tragically in Charlotte.

Kayla Kennedy’s life was forever changed at an intersection in the Elizabeth neighborhood, when she found herself pinned in a mangled Jeep, with the airbag deployed and a back tire missing.

“I almost died. Just around the corner, just trying to leave from school like every other day,” she said. “I remember there was glass in my eyes and my mouth.”

The 20-year-old and her attorney said it was the tragic result of a police chase.

“I don’t really understand why this happened ‘cause it shouldn’t have,” she said.

Police reports show CMPD officers were trying to pull over a stolen vehicle when officers said the driver, Mitchell, took off.

“Officers got a hit on a stolen vehicle. They got behind that vehicle and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle using blue lights and sirens,” said CMPD Lt. Stephen Fischbach. “They did that on Freedom Drive between Morehead and Interstate 77. The vehicle failed to stop for blue light and sirens and they did not pursue,” he went on to say. “There were no ground units in pursuit. This vehicle, driven by the suspect, drives through the uptown area and then crashes into the victim.”

Investigators said he T-boned Kennedy’s Jeep and also hit another car on Elizabeth Avenue -- a block away from Charlottetown Avenue.

X-rays shows the crash shattered Kennedy’s Pelvis, requiring surgery two days before her 20th birthday.

Her attorney, Walter Bowers, said it should have never happened. That’s because he represents another family who lost a loved one in a police chase last year, and court documents show Mitchell was also in that car that was trying to get away from CMPD.

But two months after that 2021 crash, court documents show the case was dismissed. Prosecutors noted that the overwhelming evidence now shows there was another individual in the car, and that the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mitchell was the driver.

Channel 9 learned neither alleged chase was Mitchell’s first run-in with the law. We found a pattern of arrests, including 15 mugshots. He was arrested on various charges, including evading police and numerous stolen vehicles. Some of those charges have since been dropped.

“Knowing he was repeating this behavior, it should have been a lot harder for him to be out on bond,” Bowers said.

Bowers and Kennedy also believe CMPD should have never been going after Mitchell. And that’s why they plan to sue the city of Charlotte.

“Something needs to change,” Kennedy said. “Innocent people like myself are getting hurt and it shouldn’t have to happen.”

Kennedy is thankful she’s alive, but there’s a long journey ahead -- a journey she hopes no one else will have to live.

“I can’t really move on with my life right now either. Can’t really do anything,” she said. “It’s too much.”

Kennedy said she’s upset and worried that this all could happen again to someone else.

That’s because Channel 9 found out that Mitchell posted bond and is back on the streets. He’s charged with felony hit-and-run, evading police and other charges.

CMPD maintains police were not chasing Mitchell before they said he hit Kennedy.

“No ground units pursued the vehicle due to the fact that this vehicle was not wanted or involved with a crime dangerous to life. CMPD’s helicopter was able to keep the suspect’s vehicle in sight from overhead,” Fischbach said. “Officers have a duty to attempt to stop suspects who are in commission of a crime. And in this case, this was a felony, a suspect in possession of a stolen vehicle.”

A CMPD spokesperson told Channel 9 a pursuit occurs any time an officer activates his or her emergency equipment and follows the subject in an attempt to stop the vehicle, and the driver either flees and/or engages in evasive actions.

CMPD can pursue someone if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver or occupant has committed or is attempting to commit a crime dangerous to life, per policy.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this case.

(WATCH BELOW: Here’s why CMPD didn’t intervene earlier in Wednesday’s high-speed chase)

Comments on this article