LAKE CITY, Fla. – A high-speed police chase of a U-Haul truck in Columbia County on Wednesday afternoon ended in a crash into three vehicles in Lake City that sent five people to the hospital. News4Jax obtained dashcam video of the entire pursuit.
It started with a traffic stop of the rental truck that made a risky lane change on Interstate 75, nearly causing a crash. Deputy David Harvey smelled marijuana and told the two men to wait while he ran a background check, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
"Let me run this thing real quick and I’ll get you back on your way," Harvey can be heard telling the driver.
Minutes later, the truck speeds away. With Harvey in pursuit, the U-Haul made a U-turn, exiting onto U.S. 90 -- the busiest road in Lake City. The U-Haul reached speeds of up to 87 mph and, at times, dodged cars, hopped medians and a sidewalk and blew through red lights.
Columbia County Sgt. Murray Smith said deputies were worried about the reckless driving.
"The deputies pull back from the pursuit -- they were not in close pursuit," Smith said. "They were just monitoring the vehicle to see where it went."
About seven minutes after the chase started, the truck ran a red light and caused a three-vehicle crash at Sister’s Welcome Road. Both men bailed out of the truck.
Driver Akeem Davis tried to run despite his pants falling down. It didn’t take long for the deputies to catch and arrest them. Deputies said a search of the truck turned up marijuana and a gun.
Davis was a convicted felon. His passenger, D’Angelo Harden, a fugitive wanted in three states. Both are from Orlando, but they're now in the Columbia County jail.
"They were traveling on the interstate. That is a drug corridor," Smith said.
Deputies said all five of the innocent bystanders in the crash should be OK.
Detectives wouldn't talk about what was in the back of the U-Haul, saying only that it is evidence in a fraud investigation.