Lake City police arrested a man after they said he crashed through a front security gate of Summers Elementary School and then fled the area. Jeremy Pepper, 28, was arrested a few minutes later.
Police said shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, a driver witnessed a vehicle go through the stop sign at Southwest St. Margarets Street and Southwest Mcfarlane Avenue. The vehicle, later identified as a 1996 Olds Achieva driven by Pepper, crashed through the locked gate of the east entrance into Summers Elementary School, on Mcfarlane Avenue.
After crashing through the gate, the driver destroyed several signs in the parking lot and exited through another portion of fence, heading north on Mcfarlane Avenue past the witness. The witness called police and several officers responded to the area in an attempt to locate the vehicle.
Minutes later, officers located the stopped vehicle in the Buck Stove parking lot. Pepper was sitting in the driver's seat with the keys now in his back pocket. Police said he was disoriented and had a strong odor of alcohol coming from him.There was substantial damage to his vehicle and both the front and rear windshields were shattered.
Pepper received a small laceration to his face as a result of the crash.
Pepper was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage. He is also facing charges of possession of marijuana (less than 20 grams) and possession of drug paraphernalia; and issued a traffic citation for the crash.
He was booked at the Columbia County Detention Facility with bail set at $1,500 and has since bonded out.
The maintenance department of the Columbia County School Board has estimated the damage to school property to be $1,200.