SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) The South Carolina Highway Patrol said a man has been arrested after the car he was driving burst into flames during a chase on I-85, killing a one-year-old child inside.
Troopers say that around 10:20 p.m. Friday, they attempted a traffic stop on Highway 14 in Greenville.
The driver did not stop and a chase began on Highway 14 until the driver led troopers onto I-85 north near mile marker 56.
During this time, troopers say they observed smoke and sparks coming from the vehicle. The smoke continued to intensify, so troopers alerted the fire department.
As the car began to catch fire, troopers say they saw a large bag being thrown from the vehicle.
Around mile marker 60, the car became completely engulfed in flames. Troopers said the car's speed decreased to nearly 30 miles per hour.
The driver proceeded to exit the vehicle, and take off on foot as the car rolled to a stop.
After firefighters extinguished the blaze, troopers say a small body was found in the backseat.
According to Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger, that body was of 1-year-old Xena Rah'Lah Norman of Foxborough Road in Spartanburg died in the Friday night incident.
An autopsy to determine Xena's exact cause of death will be performed at a later date.
SLED was called in to help investigate, and a K-9 unit was deployed as law enforcement canvassed the area for the driver.
Troopers said they recovered the bag that was thrown from the car during the pursuit and found illegal drugs inside.
Though the initial search was unsuccessful, troopers say they eventually were able to track down the suspect, Imhotep Osiris Norman, 26.
Norman was arrested and taken to the Spartanburg County Detention Center.
SLED has charged Imhotep Norman with homicide by child abuse in this case.
On Monday, troopers released the charged they had filed against Norman following the chase.
Those charges are failure to stop for a blue light resulting in death, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute amphetamine.
A police report from October 2018, says Norman was arrested after a traffic stop led to the discovery of a pistol, marijuana and other illegal drugs.
Those charges are just a few filed against him in South Carolina, which include unlawful carrying of a weapon, and possession of schedule I, II, and III substances.
During that same traffic stop, officers mentioned that a young child was in the car.
EMOTIONAL FIRST BOND HEARING
Norman went before a Spartanburg County judge at 2 p.m. Saturday, where his bond was denied.
Norman's mother spoke on his behalf.
On the other side, the victim's family beat on the glass over the emotional testimonies, our photographer noticed.
“I just know that the car wasn’t on fire when I got out the car. I would have stayed in that car with my daughter. I would have never got out the car while the car was on fire. I seen sparks coming from under the tires when I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop at that point. I don’t know why what happened to the car were I couldn’t stop”
The suspect told the judge, moments before bond court ended on Saturday.
Norman is now facing new charges from the South Carolina Highway Patrol and went through bond court again Monday, April 15th. He was denied bond again.
Fighting Injustice Together later released a response to new dashcam video released by SCHP:
Fighting Injustice Together, will never frown on transparency and as such, we are truly appreciative of the release of the “dash cam” video of the chase between the SC Highway Patrol and Mr. Norman, in were one-year old Xena Norman lost her life. We strongly believe in accountability, but we also believe in speaking the truth and this video speaks volumes to that truth. The video highlights three key points:
1. The chase was not high-speed
2. The vehicle was on fire while Mr. Norman was driving and engulf when he exited the vehicle
3. Mr. Norman had to be aware that the vehicle was on fire when he abandoned it, leaving the one year old behind
Keeping inline with our willingness to speak truth, we find not fault with the Troopers involved in this chase, and we see the sole responsibility for this tragic loss of life in the hands of Mr. Norman.