During an attempt to stop a vehicle involved in a high-speed chase, Port Orange police officer David Vastell was stuck by the speeding vehicle, sustaining injuries that were non-lethal, but serious nonetheless.
The incident occurred while Vastell, who has been a member of the force for 17 years, was laying down what are known as “stop sticks,” used for immediately puncturing and deflating tires. The driver of the car, a student from Spruce Creek High School, was fleeing the police for reasons unknown. According to the report, the chase began when the student was approached by Officer Jonathan Nolan on routine patrol around the Port Orange Pavilion located at 5501 Williamson Boulevard. Driving a 2004 Lexus owned by his mother, the 16-year-old boy was parked in between a Five Guys and a Texas Roadhouse, headlights off but break lights on. Officer Nolan states that as he neared the car, it immediately drove off. This made him suspicious, and he then climbed into his own vehicle, turned on the lights and siren, and attempted to make a traffic stop. The Lexus, however, sped up and away from the area with the restaurants, driving north on Williamson and running a red light.
It was at the intersection of Madeline Avenue and Clyde Morris Boulevard that Officer Vastell was attempting to lay stop sticks. According to the Port Orange police spokesperson, the stop sticks are able to be employed when the supervisor of a shift agrees to their deployment after any suspect has unlawfully run from a traffic stop. This was the case as officer Vaster began setting up the sticks, his car stopped in the median. As the Lexus approached, Officer Vastell attempted to escape, but the teen was able to swerve and miss the sharp stop sticks and simultaneously collide with the officer’s body. Afterwards, the teen sped away and was able to elude the following law enforcement for only five miles or so until he crashed close to Ridgewood Avenue and Nova Road.
Officer Vastell is reported to be in stable condition with no broken bones or external injuries, however it is still unknown whether or not he sustained any internal damage and more tests and observation are scheduled.
The charges currently leveled against the teen include aggravated fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault, and using a vehicle to commit a felony.
If you have been injured in a Port Orange auto accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).
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James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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