‘I don’t understand it’: Man mourns dad killed in Alexander County chase

ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. — A suspect who led a chase and caused a deadly crash Thursday is in jail with a $1 million bond.

An innocent driver was killed when the highway patrol chase ended in Alexander County around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, authorities said. The chase lasted only a few minutes, covering a mile and a half before it ended in a crash on Highway 16 near the county fairgrounds, south of Taylorsville.

Clint Carlton Hoke, 62, of Hiddenite, was killed. His girlfriend, Bridget Rivers Preston, was flown to a Charlotte hospital with life-threatening injuries.

State troopers and deputies pulled the suspect, 38-year-old Tod-Jaa Dazu-Juan Tilley, of Taylorsville, from his car after it caught fire. He’s now in the Alexander County jail.

Channel 9′s Dave Faherty spoke with Hoke’s family members on Friday. Trent Hoke said his father had a big heart and had just retired a few months ago from the furniture industry. He was paying some bills with his girlfriend Thursday when he was struck by the car being chased by state troopers.

“It’s not real. I don’t understand it,” Trent Hoke said. “I just talked to him yesterday and we were planning on this weekend.”

Tilley was charged with traffic death by motor vehicle, fleeing to elude and several other charges after state troopers say he fled in a stolen car. Faherty obtained court documents connected to Tilley’s previous arrests dating back more than 15 years.

Tilley’s mother and sister watched Channel 9′s coverage of the pursuit and his arrest. They admit Tilley has had run-ins with the law in the past, but would never want something like this to happen.

“My heart goes out to the man who passed away,” said his sister Toz’Sha Tilley. “I don’t think my brother intended to do that.”

“I just disagree with how they did the high-speed chase,” said his mother Joyce Williams. “They should have backed off. There were other protocols they could have took.”

(WATCH BELOW: Three arrested following carjacking, chase in Gaston County, police say)

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