A college professor returning to his lab after dinner finds himself in the middle of a high-speed police chase, which leaves his car totaled and a patrol vehicle overturned.
At 7:22 p.m., Professor Leo Demski got the green light to cross U.S. 41.
He was heading west, returning to his lab at New College of Florida. As he entered the intersection, he found himself in the middle of a high-speed police chase.
Sheriff’s deputy Joseph Petta was chasing a stolen van heading south on U.S. 41. His vehicle’s emergency lights flashed, and its siren wailed. He had a red light as he entered the same intersection where Demski was crossing.
Demski’s Subaru collided with Petta’s SUV. Tire marks from the SUV indicated that Petta’s speed was approximately 60 miles per hour before impact. Dempski was moving at about 10 miles per hour.
After the collision, the SUV continued to skid, leaving an additional 120 feet of tire marks on the road. It hit a curb, overturned, and smacked into a tree and a light pole.
The stolen van that Petta was pursuing continued south on U.S. 41. It eventually stopped about a mile away, and its driver, Ronald Pendergrass, was arrested by deputies.