ALACHUA ‒ A one-vehicle crash was reported to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and Alachua County Fire Rescue at 4:13 a.m., Tuesday, May 3. The driver of a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis was traveling south on County Road 235 when she attempted to evade an Alachua Police Department (APD) officer who had attempted an earlier traffic stop on the vehicle.
On Tuesday, May 3 APD officers observed a blue Mercury four-door vehicle driving erratically in the area of Northwest 159th Place.
Officers attempted to catch up to the vehicle in order to effect a traffic stop. The vehicle continued traveling through the neighborhood while increasing speed. The vehicle, in disregard of a red traffic signal, crossed four lanes of Northwest U.S. Highway 441 on Alachua’s Main Street.
Due to the blatant disregard for traffic control and the risk of danger to other motorists, the original officer ceased attempting to stop the vehicle. Officers continued looking for the vehicle in the area of CR 235.
Another officer spotted the vehicle, which was traveling at a high rate of speed, heading southbound on CR 235. The officer turned around and attempted to catch up; however, due to the high rate of speed, the officer lost visual contact and subsequently deactivated their emergency equipment.
Due to the erratic and unsafe driving behavior, the officer continued searching for the vehicle, which was later found to have crashed in the tree line along CR 235.
The driver, a 17-year-old Jacksonville woman, lost control of the Grand Marquis and spun off the roadway onto the west grass shoulder, at which point the vehicle’s left rear struck a tree. According to the FHP, the vehicle came to a final rest on the shoulder of CR 235 at approximately 1,000 feet south of Northwest 164th Terrace.
Units from Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) responded, along with law enforcement. When crews arrived, they found a single vehicle with heavy damage, multiple patients outside of the vehicle and one patient who required extrication with the “Jaws of Life” to remove them from the seriously damaged vehicle.
Passengers included a 15-year-old male, listed in critical condition, and a 14-year-old male, listed in serious condition, both Alachua residents.
Additional passengers listed as Gainesville residents included a 17-year-old female in serious condition, a 14-year-old female in critical condition, and two females listed as 17- and 13-year-olds, both of whom were listed in serious condition.
The driver and passengers were all transported to UF Health Shands. According to the FHP, the driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. It is unknown whether the passengers were belted in.
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