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Man killed in police chase crash was taxi driver put into trunk by suspect

LANCASTER, WI (WTAQ) - Authorities now say a man killed near La Crosse was a taxi driver who was thrown in the trunk by the thief who stole the victim's vehicle.

Officials said 25-year-old Timmy Johnson Jr. of Lancaster was released Thursday from the Grant County Jail -- and on the same day, Johnson allegedly abducted the 79-year-old cab driver from Platteville and stole his car.

La Crosse Police said an officer recognized the missing cab driver's license plate around 1 a.m. Friday. A chase began north on Highway 35 into Holmen. Officials said the car rear-ended another vehicle before rolling over.

Police said the victim was then found in the trunk, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was reportedly underway Friday afternoon.

Officials said the cab driver appeared to be beaten prior to the car crash. His name was not immediately released. A passenger in the other vehicle had minor injuries.

Court records showed that Johnson was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 5 years of probation, after he pleaded no contest to vehicle theft and bail jumping.

The La Crosse Tribune said Johnson was convicted for stealing a vehicle from a business in Dickeyville, and trying to bribe the officer who arrested him. He's now in jail, where police say he faces a possible homicide charge.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)