New details in I-59 chase turned homicide - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

New details in I-59 chase turned homicide

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Dale Washington, Jr., left, and  Frederick Blakely, Jr. (abc3340.com) Dale Washington, Jr., left, and Frederick Blakely, Jr. (abc3340.com)
TUSCALOOSA COUNTY - AL -

A preliminary hearing has revealed new details in the I-59 chase turned homicide that happened in the southbound lane near exit 100 January 30th.  

At the time, the suspect Dale Washington, Jr. told authorities that he and the victim - Frederick Blakely, Jr. didn't know each other but got into speed challenged race before they crashed.

Witnesses countered that story.  Some testified that a feud between Washington and Blakely actually began in Bessemer.  Police say a witness saw the same two cars at the Kangaroo fuel station of Academy Drive a few moments before the ultimate crash.  "The same witness who rolled up on the accident was able to identify those cars as the same ones that had been seen getting on the interstate at 108," said Sgt. Dale Phillips with Tuscaloosa Metro homicide.

According to testimony, at-least three witnesses say they saw Washington get out of his car and shoot Blakely who was still in his crashed vehicle.  Police say text messages reveal that before the incident, both men were setting up a drug transaction. "Witnesses heard Mr. Washington say no one was going to call the cops and Mr. Washington seemed to be demanding something from Mr. Blakely before he shot him," added Phillips.

Relatives of Blakely say the whole thing was out of his character.  They describe him as a loving, happy person.  Blakely's aunt says they never saw Blakely with Washington. "We don't know him and we don't believe Frederick knew him...but, we can't say he didn't...but, the fact we don't know him we can't say what happened."

After the shooting, police say witnesses saw Washington toss something onto the back of a moving pick up truck.  They believe it could have been the gun. "Someone out there probably found something in their vehicle. If they did, we'd like to know what it is. If it's a gun -- by all means we'd like to have it."

If anyone drove a pick up truck past the crash site January 30th and found something unusual on the back of our pick up truck, you're asked to call Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide.

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