Florida Police Chase Results in Crash; 5 Hurt


A police chase early Monday morning ended in a crash at the intersection of Philips Highway and Baymeadows Road that injured five people.

A car driven by Morris McClendon, 32, was going south on Interstate 95 without its lights on at about 2 a.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver kept going and police began a pursuit. The chase led two police cruisers onto Philips Highway, where stop sticks were deployed, but the car kept going.

When the fleeing car reached the Baymeadows Road intersection, the driver ran the red traffic light and slammed into a car heading east on Baymeadows, according to FHP.

Lashema Massey, 21, and Jakebe Smith, 7 months old, were in the vehicle hit by the fleeing car. Both were taken to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center in critical condition. Troopers said they don't know the child's relationship to Massey.

Troopers said Darlene Harris, 43, and Ashley Hamlin, 27, were in the car driven by McClendon. They were taken to Shands, and McClendon was taken to Baptist Medical Center. All were listed in serious condition.

Police said that all three people in the fleeing car may face charges. McClendon was arrested on charges of fleeing law enforcement resulting in serious bodily injury. He has been arrested three previous times on drug possession and distribution charges.

Troopers said alcohol is suspected in the crash, but they are waiting on toxicology tests. None of the passengers in either vehicle were wearing seat belts.

Troopers did not say why the three in the speeding car were fleeing police.

The intersection of Baymeadows and Philips was reopened to traffic just after 6 a.m.

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