A South Carolina man is facing homicide charges after he allegedly fled his burning car amid a police chase, leaving his 1-year-old daughter to burn to death in the back seat.
According to The State, a state trooper attempted to pull over Imhotep Osiris Norman, 26, for speeding at 10:20 p.m. Friday on State 14 in Greenville County. Authorities said Norman continued to flee on Interstate 85 as sparks coming from his undercarriage eventually turned into flames.
Troopers used a rolling roadblock, reportedly leading Norman to exit the burning car and take off on foot. WYFF reported that firefighters discovered the body of a toddler, identified as Xena Rah’Lah Norman, in the back seat of the vehicle after they extinguished the blaze.
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Imhotep was accused of throwing a bag containing drugs out of the vehicle before running off. Troopers elicited the help of a K9 unit to search for him. Though their initial search was unsuccessful, troopers eventually located the suspect and charged him with homicide by child abuse, according to WHNS.
During a bond hearing on Saturday, Imhotep claimed the car wasn’t on fire when he engaged in an on-foot pursuit with police.
“I would have stayed in that car with my daughter. I would have never got out the car while the car was on fire,” he said, the news station reported. “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 … why I couldn’t stop.”
Imhotep, who reportedly has prior weapons and drug charges on his record, is being held without bond. WHNS reported that an autopsy will be performed on the toddler to confirm her cause of death.
Authorities said additional charges are pending.
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[Featured image: Imhotep Norman/Spartanburg County Detention Center; Xena Rah’Lah Norman/GoFundMe]