June 24, 2006
Charlottesville police are investigating an early morning chase that left one man dead. What started out as a routine police stop turned into a chase by Albemarle County Police that left 37-year-old Shawn Lewis dead.
At around 12:30 this morning, Albemarle County Police attempted to pull over the truck that was driving without it's head lights. When the truck refused to stop and sped up, a chase followed.
The car was coming down Preston Avenue, approaching Madison, when it careened off the road, hit a tree, and took out some mailboxes. The driver, Shawn Lewis, was killed on impact.
As police began searching the vehicle, they found multiple cartons of cigarettes and lighters from Cavalier Pipe and Tobacco Shop.
James Robinson, owner of the tobacco shop, believes that based on the items taken, Lewis had specific intentions with the stolen merchandise.
"I believe it probably was drug related, probably, that's my belief. Now I don't know that to be a fact," Robinson said.
The shop, in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, had in fact been broken into. The glass in the front door had been shattered.
Although upset about the destruction of his property, Robinson is just as sorry the incident ended the way it did.
"The merchandise can be replaced, the door can be replaced, everything else can be replaced, but a life cannot be replaced," Robinson continued.
It is still unknown how Lewis got access to the Blair Construction truck he was driving, it is still under investigation. Even though the chase involved Albemarle County police, since the crash happened in Charlottesville, the city police are investigating the incident.
At this time authorities also don't know if Lewis was in fact a Charlottesville resident.