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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- When a mother of three crossed paths with an accused drug dealer on the run, the result was deadly. Now the victim's loved ones say the suspect is not the only one to blame.
At 39th and Kentucky around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, police say 64-year old Joseph Johnson's truck blindsided Stephanie Melson's car, killing the 31-year-old mother.
Kerry King, her children's father, says, "I'm holding up, just crying from time to time and missing her so much." On the steps of Stephanie Melson's home on Wednesday, King held on to family pictures of their eight, 11, and 13-year-old children in the sudden shock of life as a single father. "I just don't have no closure, no understanding," he said.
Nina Gardner, who witnessed the crash, said Wednesday, "We looked at her and she looked at us, and it's like she looked at the truck coming forward. And it was like, that was it."
Johnson's now charged with murder, trafficking a controlled substance, fleeing and evading, and failing to stop at a stop sign.
Investigators say he was speeding away from a drug bust at 40th and Broadway. They later found suspected cocaine in his truck. Police say the chase ran less than a mile.
King says, "It's not just about Mr. Johnson. It's Louisville Police Department as well, 'cause I don't think they should be pursuing people that hard....There are many cases of this and it's always they blame it on the person they're chasing. No, it's not all their fault. You're the reason they're flying up through the streets like that."
Police have launched a public integrity investigation. No officers have been placed on leave thus far.
All that remains at the scene is a memorial to Melson and the spray paint left behind by investigators.
Melson was heading to Trinity House Daycare. She had just stepped out for a lunch break when the crash happened. A day after she died, the sign on the door says the business is temporarily closed.
King calls it a senseless loss, one he's still trying to explain. Of their children, he says, "Every little thing reminds them of their mother."
Johnson pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday morning to the murder and other charges, but now he faces more. Late Wednesday, WDRB News learned officers found more drugs and illegal guns at his house after the crash.