Sheriff: Man pursued by deputy causes fatal crash

- The Lake County Sheriff's Office is once again reviewing policy after a second death in less than a year, as a  result of a deputy pursuit. 

On Monday morning, just after 1 a.m., one of their deputies tried to make a traffic stop when he watched a driver run a red light at U.S. Highway 27 and Washington Street in Minneola, but according to a Sheriff's Office spokesman, that driver did not stop.

Lt. John Herrell said the driver fled south down U.S. 27 onto State Road 50, leaving Lake County and driving into Orange County.   Lt. Herrell saidonce the driver crossed the county line, the deputy stopped.

"He could have continued, but every pursuit needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis," said Lt. Herrell, "and at that point, the driver was apparently beginning to increase his speed, so the deputy shut off his lights."

The driver continued eastbound into Oakland, at which time he lost control and crashed into another driver, Herrell added.  That other driver, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, was 19-year-old Carlos Sanchez Santiago.

The suspect, 23-year-old Darius Wilverson, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center and will be booked into jail once discharged.  Authorities said they found three drivers' licenses in Wilverson's car, all with Wilverson's picture but with different names.  Authorities said they also found a firearm.

A further investigation revealed that Wilverson was driving with a suspended license and warrants for his arrest out of Orange County.  

Lt. Herrell said, "He was motivated to run."  

I has been nearly a year since a Lake County pursuit ended in a double-fatal crash in Groveland.  Similarly, one of victims in that crash was an innocent third-party driver, Kimberly King.  In that instance, a deputy suffered repercussions and the pursuit policy was changed.

Herrell said, "We now require deputies can only pursue someone they reasonably suspect has committed a forcible felony or whose driving or other actions pose an imminent danger to the public."

Lt. Herrell said it appears Wilverson's driving behavior and other behavior posed an imminent threat to the public, but he said the case under review.
 

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