DELAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A girlfriend says her boyfriend's death could have been avoided, after he died in a crash. Police say he dragged and officer and took off.
"Sometimes if feel like I'm just going to stop breathing. The truth is we're just a normal couple, like any other couple and stuff got blown out of proportion," says Kelli Rushworth, talking about her boyfriend Justin Johnson.
DeLand police say he died early Wednesday, after dragging a police officer and crashing his car. They say it started after a taxi driver called 911 saying Johnson was following Kelli who was in the cab, but Kelli says it was the cabbie's boss who called 911.
"When she was on the phone she overhead my boyfriend saying he wanted to talk to me. So she felt some type of way, and she called the cops. I didn't call the cops. He was not like running him off the road. I came here, he had said something to me and I left and went to the hospital."
Went to the hospital, because her 4-year-old boy was sick. Police say they pulled Justin over.
"One of the officers sees suspected drugs in the car in plain view. He asked the driver to get out of the vehicle. He ends up closing the door on the officer's hand and starts driving away," explains DeLand Police spokesperson Chris Graham. "The officer was dragged several feet. He was able to free himself."
But Kelli says, "He would never deliberately hurt another person."
Police say a few minutes later Justin's car was found demolished and on fire. Both Justin and his dog died in the crash.
They say Johnson told them during the traffic stop, that he had been arguing with his girlfriend and that the taxi driver witnessed him following them. But Kelli disagrees saying Justin meant no harm.
"Do you think his death could have been avoided? I 100 percent think it could have been avoided."
Police say they had to make the traffic stop after getting the 911 call. They say the officer who was dragged was treated and released from the hospital.