West Alabama authorities are investigating after a man in their care died after he was tased by police last week.
It happened after Northport Police responded to a wreck with injuries around 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the 4100 block of Fifth Street, near the Famers Market.
While officers were on the way, they were told that one of the drivers had walked away from the scene. Officers encountered the driver, 25-year-old Joshua Terrell Crawford, on Robert Cardinal Road about a mile away from the wreck.
Officers said they noticed Crawford was bleeding heavily from his hands and arms, and when officers approached he did not answer and refused to stop. When one officer tried stopping him, the officer said Crawford swung at him, smearing blood on the officer’s face.
Crawford became combative when officers tried detaining him, police said, so an officer used pepper spray. The spray had no effect, so one of the officers activated their emergency button. That button requests all available assistance.
A Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to that call, and when the deputy arrived he said he saw Crawford walking away from the officers, so the deputy positioned his vehicle to block oncoming traffic.
When the deputy got out of his vehicle, the officers were attempting to detail Crawford, who was swinging wildly at them. One officer got his hands on Crawford, and Crawford hit that officer in the face.
The deputy used his taser on Crawford to gain control of the situation, and Crawford went to the ground.
Police said when one officer attempted handcuffing Crawford he continued resisting, so the deputy used the drive stun technique of the taser, which means the taser was held against Crawford without deploying the taser’s projectiles.
Crawford was taken into custody once more officers arrived, and they requested emergency medical personnel so they could check out Crawford and the injured officers.
Police said Crawford was exhibiting behavior seen in people who are under the influence of narcotics or having a mental episode, so he was taken to Northport Medical Center, where he went into medical disress.
Crawford was taken to DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa and placed into intensive care, where he died Friday.
Tuscaloosa authorities said they are awaiting an autopsy following Crawford’s death, and are investigating the incident.