Police chase ends at Littlewood Elementary, GPD says


Published: Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 7:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 7:11 p.m.

A Gainesville man who told police he was having a bad day led an officer on a chase through residential areas at speeds up to 117 mph before crashing into a pole and sign outside an elementary school, according to a report.

Nicholas Scott Pradaxay, 20, who identified himself as a student, was arrested around 2 a.m. Saturday following a chase that started on Northwest 17th Street near University Avenue and ended at Littlewood Elementary School at Northwest Eighth Avenue and 34th Street.

According to the Gainesville Police Department, Officer James Lake was near a parked patrol car that had its overhead lights on as officers closed Northwest 17th Street as area bars were closing.

Pradaxay drove north on Northwest 17th Street and around southbound traffic and the patrol car. Lake waved his flashlight at him and he slowed down but when the officer walked toward him, Pradaxay sped up.

Lake yelled for him to stop and ran alongside his car, banging on the driver’s side window while telling him to stop. When Pradaxay kept going, the report states, Lake got into his patrol car and tried to catch him.

Pradaxay went north on Northwest 17th Street, east on Northwest Fifth Avenue, then north on Northwest 15th Street. He ran a stop sign and hit the roundabout at NW 15th Street and Northwest Seventh Avenue, with two wheels of his car coming off the ground.

Pradaxay turned west on Northwest Eighth Avenue and sped off at around 80 mph, Lake said, passing two vehicles while crossing the double yellow line on the road. He ran a red light at Northwest 22nd Street and sped up to 117 mph, Lake said.

At the Northwest 34th Street intersection Pradaxay tried to go around two vehicles but bounced over a curb, across the sidewalk and into a student drop off area at the school.

His car went airborne and crashed into a concrete light pole before bouncing over another curb and hitting a handicapped parking sign before stopping within 10 feet of the school building.

Pradaxay not injured in the crash or during the arrest.

When Lake asked him why he ran, the report states, Pradaxay replied, “I was having a bad day and I’m on probation out of Bradford County.”

Pradaxay had blood-alcohol levels of .082 and .080. He was arrested on charges of driving under the influence with damage to property and fleeing police.

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