Fleeing suspect dies in Lake City crash

A 40-year-old Lake City man died Wednesday night after crashing his vehicle while trying to evade law enforcement.

A Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputy initiated a stop for a traffic violation around 11:30 p.m., but the driver failed to pull over and accelerated away, according to a sheriff’s office report.

The suspect then lost control of his vehicle around U.S. Highway 90 West and NW Eadie Street, near downtown Lake City. The vehicle hit the center median curbing, flipped multiple times and the driver—who was not wearing a seat belt—was ejected.

The vehicle was on fire when deputies approached and rescued a 34-year-old Lake City man. The occupant said he had not been driving, so deputies searched the scene and located the suspected driver, who was transported to Lake City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

“This incident highlights the importance of complying with law enforcement,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said. “This tragedy could have been prevented if the suspect would have simply cooperated with our deputy. We are grateful no other citizens were injured from this suspect’s reckless actions. Our thoughts and prayers are with the suspect’s family.”

The Florida Highway Patrol is leading the crash investigation and said it would release further information when it becomes available.

The fatal chase comes just over a month after a similar incident in Lake City. On June 16th a CCSO pursuit resulted in multiple injuries when the fleeing vehicle ran a red light and hit a van.

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