Man dead after GPD car chase

Howard Alden Griffin of Gainesville was pronounced dead after crashing his car following a pursuit by GPD.


Published: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 3:53 a.m.
A Gainesville man died in a car crash early Sunday in a pursuit by Gainesville Police.
Howard Alden Griffin, 29, of 1831 NW 55th Terrace, was fleeing in a 1993 Mazda from Officer Brett Robison, who had responded to a disabled vehicle call at 1:12 a.m., police said.
Griffin was sitting in the car parked behind a business at 4320 NW 23rd Ave., GPD spokesman Sgt. Keith Kameg said.
After seeing Robison's squad car, Griffin sped out of the parking lot and onto a sidewalk beside NW 43rd Street, Kameg said.
Robison followed Griffin, who drove erratically on the street and sidewalk, turning west onto NW 23rd Avenue, Kameg said. Griffin continued driving and swerving across lanes at a speed of 55 mph in the 40-mph zone, Kameg said. Robison observed Griffin driving in the middle of both westbound lanes and at one point, saw Griffin drive in the eastbound lane of NW 23rd Avenue for 500 feet, Kameg said.
Griffin ran a red light at the NW 98th Street intersection, and Robison, about 500 yards behind, lost sight of the Mazda at the 10300 block of NW 23rd Avenue, Kameg said.
Griffin failed to negotiate a sharp curve at NW 23rd Avenue and NW 103rd Terrace and lost control of his car, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.
The car left the road and became airborne before colliding with several small trees at a creek bed embankment.
Griffin was ejected from the car and later pronounced dead at the scene, the FHP said.
Kameg said police found less than an ounce of marijuana next to the car and are waiting for toxicology results to determine if alcohol was involved in the incident.
Kameg said Robison followed GPD's policy on vehicle pursuits and GPD's Internal Affairs Unit would review the incident.
Police can pursue a driver who refuses to stop if they believe he has committed a felony or poses an immediate threat to the community, Kameg said.
"Any person coming out of the subdivisions on that road could have been in harm's way," Kameg said. "The officer met all of our requirements and did everything he was supposed to do."
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 374-5036 or balld@ gvillesun.com.

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