Deputies: Driver sparks pursuit spanning 3 counties

Clay County Sheriff's Office no longer actively searching for driver

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Clay County Sheriff's Office is no longer actively searching for a man who authorities said sparked a car chase spanning three counties on Friday morning, but detectives are still trying to identify the driver.

The pursuit started in Gainesville and ended near Camp Blanding, where deputies found the getaway car --  white four-door sedan that was abandoned on a rural street. Deputies said the driver is wanted in connection with a burglary. 

At 4:30 a.m., a China One restaurant on Northwest 13th Street in Gainesville had been closed for hours, but an eyewitness called the Alachua County Sheriff's Office to let deputies know that there was a burglary in progress.

When Alachua County deputies arrived, the Sheriff's Office said, the accused burglar jumped into a white, four-door sedan. Authorities said they tried boxing him in, but the driver escaped by backing his car into a patrol deputies vehicle.

From there, with law enforcement officers in pursuit, the driver traveled up State Road 24 past the Gainesville Regional  Aiport and then got onto Highway 301, heading north toward Waldo, authorities said.  

Deputies said that as he was approaching the Bradford County line, they dispatched a be on the lookout to all responding deputies, but because the driver was not a violent offender, Bradford County deputies said they called off the pursuit. 

The driver continued to travel on Highway 301 in Bradford County until he reached State Road 16, where he traveled east and into Clay County and eventually crashed the vehicle at Lightning Strike Road and State Road 16.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office was also dispatched for assistance. Clay County deputies said that when they arrived, the driver had already run off after driving more than 30 miles through three Florida counties.

While Clay County deputies are not actively searching for the car, detectives said they are trying to locate the car's owner to determine if the owner was the same person who robbed the restaurant in Gainesville.

At last check, according to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, no arrests had been made.

Car chase ends in crash

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