Man critical after police chase
May 22, 2009
A 52-year-old Wasatch County man may die from severe head trauma he suffered slamming into a median barrier in Parleys Canyon last Saturday in a Porsche Cayenne.
"We believe that he is still in very extremely critical condition and the investigation continues I don’t know if he is supported by some sort of breathing assistance or if he is breathing on his own," said Lt. Don Hutson, a spokesman for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. "We do believe there was potentially alcohol and drugs involved, but we’re waiting for blood work associated with that."
Troopers clocked Heber resident Douglas Florance on westbound U.S. 40 near Jordanelle State Park traveling 124 mph, Hutson said.
"The trooper never gets within a couple miles of the guy because the Crown Vic going up the hill couldn’t keep up with the Cayenne," Hutson said. "Of course Summit County deputies respond, but they’re all in Explorers. They’re maximum is about 90 mph, so they’re not even close."
Florance has several outstanding warrants for misdemeanors related to alcohol, Hutson said.
The Porsche he was driving is registered to a woman who investigators believe Florance is living with in the Heber area, he added.
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"They are having difficulty finding family for him," Hutson said.
Motorists reported Florance driving on U.S. 40 in excess of 100 mph before officers began the pursuit May 16, Hutson said.
"There were reports that he was passing on the right, passing on the left and driving extremely reckless before any police intervention at all," he said. "Sure enough, they clock him at 124 and for the next 17 miles they’re trying to catch him, and not doing a very good job at it."
The chase ended in Salt Lake County just west of Parleys Summit after Florance sideswiped another vehicle near Silver Creek, Hutson said.
"The troopers didn’t want to try to spike this guy’s tires because it was just too dangerous at these speeds," he said. "They observe him after he goes over the summit. As he is going down toward Lambs Canyon they see the cloud of dust and arrive on the accident."
Before striking the center barrier the man drove in the road median for several hundred feet, Hutson said.
"There is potential that that was done intentionally," Hutson said. "It appears that he could have corrected and got back onto the road, but didn’t for some reason."
The man was hospitalized this week at University of Utah Health Sciences Center.
"It’s unbelievable that you can drive that fast, weaving in and out of traffic and not hit more vehicles," Hutson said.
Traffic at about 8 p.m. was reduced to one lane on westbound Interstate 80 as officers investigated the crash.