Man charged with LMPD officer's murder says of fatal chase: 'I c - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Man charged with LMPD officer's murder says of fatal chase: 'I can't stand getting caught'

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Fallen LMPD Officer Nick Rodman and Wathaniel Woods Fallen LMPD Officer Nick Rodman and Wathaniel Woods

LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – In a jail phone call after being charged with murder for crashing into and killing Louisville Metro Police Officer Nick Rodman during a chase, Wathaniel Woods said the officer was “doing his job” and “I’m doing mine,” according to court records.

“I was getting chased and you know he’s doing his job,” Woods told a woman, according to an audio of the April 5 phone call. “I’m doing mine. Of course you know I can’t stand getting caught with no pistol or nothing.

“… I did what we do, until we get rid of what we got and then we give up and take fleeing and evading and all that. That’s what we do.”

Inside the 2005 Lexus Woods was driving, police found a .45 caliber Glock handgun, crack cocaine packaged for sale, digital scales and several cell phones, according to police.

Woods’ actions and comments after the March 28 fatal wreck were part of about 500 pages of documents, pictures, police body cam and dash cam videos and multiple interviews made public in his criminal case on Thursday.

Included in the evidence are videos showing Rodman’s cruiser being struck and the frantic efforts of officers trying to save him as flames engulfed the vehicle.

Police say Woods was conscious and alert immediately after the wreck but “began acting like he was falling asleep” as an officer began reading him his rights, according to a summary of the murder investigation.

After his Miranda rights were read to him, Woods then “woke up” and asked police “what happened and said he didn’t remember anything,” according to the summary.

At that point, according to the records, Woods recognized the detective speaking to him as having been on the television show “The First 48” and asked “if she was still in homicide.”

Woods was allegedly drunk, on drugs and driving nearly 80 miles per hour fleeing from police in west Louisville when he crashed into Rodman.

In the jail phone call, Woods said of the chase that he had “one more corner to turn and I was gone and that was it and I woke up in the hospital. I don’t remember nothing else.”

Woods, also known as James Woods, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, DUI, assault, wanton endangerment, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun and drug trafficking, among other charges.  He is lodged in Metro Corrections on a $1 million bond.

Woods also allegedly struck a pedestrian during the police chase. The man was taken to a hospital with a concussion, brain bleeding, according to an interview he had with police. Woods has not been charged with hitting anyone else. 

While in the hospital after the wreck, Woods claimed officers showed him a picture of Rodman and said, “Remember that face.” He said officers also denied him access to his attorney.

Police denied both allegations, according to the records.

Police were first called after Woods had allegedly gotten into a fight with the mother of his child, who told police she was upset Woods was driving around with their child.

She told police Woods hit her several times in the face and once in the hand with a gun. When bystanders tried to stop the assault, Woods “fired several shots from the handgun and then fled,” according to the investigative summary. Police found two bullet shells at the scene.

Police spotted Woods and took chase when he didn’t stop. LMPD has said the chase was justified because Woods had committed a violent felony.

Rodman was attempting to join a car chase in pursuit of Woods in the Portland neighborhood when Woods hit Rodman's police cruiser at 78 miles per hour after running a red light at 26th and Duncan streets. The cruiser went airborne, struck a wall and burst into flames.

Rodman, who had his emergency lights on, was driving between 32 and 42 miles per hour, according to records.

One officer told investigators he saw Rodman pull out into the intersection and Woods ran a red light.

“I didn’t even see brake lights,” Officer Kody DeSpain told police. “By the time Nick had pulled out, he hit him so hard I saw Nick’s car jump into the air with (the) suspect’s.”

Woods, 37, had a blood alcohol content of .26, more than three times the legal limit, and had cocaine and opium in his blood system, according to a police report.

Rodman was trying to make a left turn at a green light at 26th and Duncan Streets. After the wreck, an officer helped Rodman get out of his vehicle and into another police cruiser. Rodman was not conscious, police said.

An officer drove Rodman to University Hospital where he died of blunt force trauma the next day. Wood had head, leg and pelvis injuries.

“It is with great sadness that I update this summary with the death” of Rodman, according to a police officer’s written summary of the wreck. “He will be greatly missed.”

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