Man released from hospital after crash charged with battery on paramedic

Another Lake City man seriously injured in 4-vehicle crash

Booking photo of James Qualls
Booking photo of James Qualls

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – A Lake City man was charged with battery on a paramedic and disorderly intoxication Thursday after he was released from the hospital following a four-vehicle crash in Columbia County that left another man seriously injured.

James Qualls, 32, suffered minor injuries in the crash, which was reported about 5 p.m. County Road 252 and Southwest Birley Avenue, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said Qualls was heading east on CR 252 in a Mazda Tribute approaching Southwest Birley Avenue and failed to stop for traffic that was stopped ahead at the intersection.

The front of the Tribute hit the rear of a Mercury Sable. Troopers said the force of the impact sent the Mercury forward, causing it to hit a Mazda pickup, which sent the pickup forward into a Suzuki Esteem.

Troopers said the 69-year-old driver of the Mazda pickup was airlifted to Shands at UF in Gainesville with serious injuries.

The Tribute continued to travel east on CR 252 without stopping, troopers said. The crash caused the Mercury and the Mazda pickup to spin and sent the Suzuki off the roadway onto the west shoulder of Southwest Birley Avenue.

Alachua County troopers found the Tribute at 5:40 p.m. after it became disabled in the southbound lanes of I-75 at mile marker 393, the FHP said.

Qualls was taken to North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville for minor injuries. Troopers said while receiving medical care, the driver became combative with rescue personnel.

Crash charges are still pending.