DESTIN — A man was taken to the hospital with severe head trauma after leading police on a chase through Destin and Okaloosa Island before crashing his car and running.
According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, on Tuesday night a deputy spotted a traffic crash on U.S. Highway 98 in front of Harbor Plaza in Destin at around 10:30 p.m. A 32-year-old Jeep driver reported he'd been hit by a pickup truck that then continued driving westbound on U.S. 98 toward Okaloosa Island. The Jeep driver wasn't hurt, but his car had disabling damage and appeared to have been sideswiped.
A K9 deputy later spotted a truck matching the description of the hit-and-run truck driving westbound on Okaloosa Island on its rims with "sparks coming out," according to the Sheriff's Office. The driver didn't yield for several miles. But the driver then jumped out of the truck while it was still moving, and the truck continued down U.S. 98 until it crashed into a bush.
The suspect driver, who authorities didn't identify but said was from Alabama, was taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center with severe head trauma. His condition isn't known.
The Florida Highway Patrol assisted the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office with the crash. An FHP report hadn't been released as of Friday.
Nick Bradley, 32, from Princeton, Indiana, is on vacation this week and said he was in the rooftop hot tub of the Destin West condominiums when he saw flashing lights coming from Destin. He grabbed his phone and started filming the incident just after the suspect crashed his car.
"This truck comes flying by riding on sparks," he said. "I was like holy (expletive) this is something you see on 'COPS.' "
The hit-and-run and the crash are currently being investigated.