SMITHS STATION, ALA. (WSFA) The man that was shot by a Lee County Sheriff's deputy Saturday for allegedly accelerating toward the officer during a traffic stop in Smiths Station has died. 33 year-old Howard Edward Nevels III, of Phenix City, died at 2:04 AM Sunday morning in Columbus Regional Hospital from a gunshot wound to the head he received in the incident.
Officials say it happened during a traffic stop when the suspect attempted to get away in a stolen van.
The Sheriff's deputy attempted to pull Nevels over just before 11:00 a.m. on County Road 243 in Smith Station, when he discovered the van had been reported stolen. The vehicle pulled into a driveway. As the deputy got out of his vehicle and approached the parked brown, Nevels turned the van towards the deputy and hit the gas. The Sheriff says the deputy gave several commands for the suspect to stop. When he did not, the deputy fired multiple shots into the driver side windshield, striking Nevels in the head.
The Sheriff's deputy has been placed on administrative leave. A seven year-old boy was in the passenger seat of the van when the shooting happened. He was not harmed during the accident. Officials have not determined the relationship between the boy and the suspect, but are able to confirm they are not related.
The body has been taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences medical examiner's office in Montgomery for a postmortem examination. The incident remains under investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Lee County Coroner's Office.
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