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High-Speed Chase Ends with Discovery of Dead Woman’s Body Inside Plastic Tote

David Maurice Reed (Laurel County Correctional Center)

David Maurice Reed (Laurel County Correctional Center)

A simple traffic stop in Kentucky spiraled out of control when the driver allegedly pulled over only to flee the scene and lead state police on a multi-county chase that ended with troopers discovering a dead woman inside of his vehicle.

David Maurice Reed, 54, was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with a slew of felonies, including one count each of domestic violence murder, tampering with physical evidence, abuse of a corpse, and first-degree fleeing or evading police, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the Kentucky State Police, a trooper at approximately 10:12 a.m. on Jan. 18 attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle driving south on Interstate 75 close to the 83-mile marker in Madison County. The trooper indicated that the vehicle’s operator appeared to be “driving carelessly.”

When the trooper activated his emergency lights and siren, police say the driver of the vehicle initially stopped. However, once the trooper approached the car, the driver – later identified as Reed – “sped off and continued travelling south on I-75 at a high rate of speed.”

Police said officers pursued the fleeing vehicle through three counties – Madison, Rocksastle, and Laurel – and accused Reed of striking several Kentucky State Police vehicles during the chase.

In an effort to stop the pursuit, troopers said they performed a “legal intervention maneuver” that effectively disabled Reed’s vehicle somewhere near the 45-mile marker on I-75 in Laurel County. Once the vehicle stopped, police were able to take Reed into custody without incident before making a grisly discovery.

“Further investigation after the stop revealed a deceased female, who has not been positively identified at this time, located inside the vehicle,” the release states. “The cause of death is undetermined at this time, and foul play is suspected.”

Police on Thursday officially identified the victim as 53-year-old Rachel Louise Carder of Huntington, West Virginia.

Lexington, Kentucky CBS affiliate WKYT-TV reported that troopers initially decided to conduct the traffic stop on Reed after they spotted him “weaving” on the interstate in his SUV. After placing Reed under arrest, they reportedly found Carder’s body stuffed inside of a “plastic tote” in the back hatch of the vehicle. Troopers also noted that there were red stains on Reed which they believed to be blood, the station reported.

An inspection of the victim revealed that Carder had sustained what appeared to be trauma injuries to her face and body along with at least one injury that appeared to have been “caused by an edged weapon,” according to the report.

Carder’s remains were sent to the Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s Office in Frankfort where an autopsy was scheduled to be conducted on Thursday. Authorities said they are still unclear as to the county or state in which Carder was killed.

In addition to the aforementioned charges, Reed is also facing one count each of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, careless driving, resisting arrest, and operating a vehicle without a license.

He is currently being held in the Laurel County Correctional Center on $2 million cash bond and is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Jan. 20.

Reed’s current address is listed in jail records as St. Petersburg, Florida.

A public affairs officer for the Kentucky State Police did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime seeking additional information as to the circumstances of Carder’s death.

(image via Laurel County Correctional Center)

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.