Young Tenn. mom killed, infant injured in crash during police pursuit of suspect

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A young mother was killed in a crash as authorities were pursuing a driver in Murfreesboro Friday afternoon.

It happened on South Church Street, not far from Veterans Parkway around 4 p.m.

Officials said authorities were pursuing 26-year-old Demario Watkins, who reportedly stole a Cadillac Escalade from Coffee County Funeral Chapel on McMinnville Highway.

The funeral director said she didn’t know the person who stole the vehicle, which is normally used for funeral processions and to run errands.

Photo by WKRN
Photo by WKRN

After going the wrong way on Interstate 24 west, Watkins reportedly exited onto Church Street, about 30 miles from where he stole the vehicle.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Watkins was traveling southbound at a high rate of speed when he struck a Nissan Altima pulling out of a parking lot onto Church Street.

The Altima was hit on its driver’s side and the driver, 28-year-old Jessica Campos, was killed.

During the crash, Watkins struck a second car and that driver received minor injuries, according to the THP.

Campos had a 7-month-old girl in the car with her, who was injured in the crash, but the child’s life was saved thanks to a car seat.

“This is why we urge people to use car seats and seat belts,” said Sgt. Travis Plotzer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “That car seat played a big part in saving the infant’s life.”

The extent of the infant’s injuries is not immediately known.

Watkins was taken to a hospital by LifeFlight.

Dennis Tramel lives close to where the crash happened and was stuck in traffic.

“I knew there had been an accident,” said Tramel. “And when I heard it was a mother who is now missing from her home, it’s unnerving.”

Earlier this year, two other police pursuits ended in a crash in this area.

On April 12, a driver wrecked on South Church Street and Warrior Drive when he was being chased by a highway patrolman.

Two days later, a teen was killed and two others injured when a car that was being chased by a Rutherford County deputy wrecked near South Church Street and Joe B. Jackson Parkway.

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