Florida police stop potential mass casualty event at Thanksgiving 5K race

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News November 27, 2022

Police in St. Petersburg, Florida stopped a woman who was driving 70 miles per hour and was headed right for a large group of runners competing in a Thanksgiving Day 5K race, reports say.

Ashlee Lauren Morgan

Ashlee Lauren Morgan, 38, from St. Petersburg was detained after police said she put the lives of thousands of marathon runners in jeopardy, WESH.com reported.

An arrest affidavit obtained by WFLA-TV said that if police officers had not stopped Morgan, she would have “barreled through the intersection causing mass [casualties] to race participants.”

The St. Petersburg Police Department said officers saw a white Range Rover traveling at nearly 70 mph in a residential area around 8 a.m. The vehicle was speeding toward a closed course for the Thanksgiving Day 5K Turkey Trot which attracted 3,000 participants.

“Morgan was observed driving recklessly south on Coffee Pot Boulevard Northeast, approaching the Snell Isle Bridge,” the department said. “Three officers made contact with her, requested her credentials, she refused, and fled the scene of the stop at a high rate of speed onto the racecourse.”

At the junction of Snell and Brightwater Boulevard, a different officer attempted to pull her over, but she disobeyed his directions to stop and went past two marked patrol cars with their emergency lights on, as well as multiple caution cones, according to the police.

At the intersection of Brightwater Boulevard and Lamara Way Northeast, officers ultimately had to force her to stop. Police said that during her arrest, Morgan became hostile.

“While under arrest, the defendant banged her head against the rear windows of the police cruiser, attempted to exit as her handcuffs were being adjusted, was combative, and OC Spray was utilized on two separate occasions in order to gain her compliance,” a police statement said.

Prior to the police chase, Morgan had hit a stop sign and damaged her back bumper after fleeing a collision, according to the police department.

Morgan was arrested and put into the Pinellas County Jail. She faces two charges of felony fleeing and evading, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, driving recklessly, and resisting an officer without using force.

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