Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

Clearwater police to review Courtney Campbell chase

TAMPA — An incident on the Courtney Campbell Parkway that started with a 125-mph motorcycle ride and ended with a fatal crash will be reviewed by Clearwater police as part of a regular policy following pursuits.

A group of motorcycles was traveling more than twice the speed limit on Wednesday eastbound across the causeway, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.

A Clearwater officer using radar in an unmarked police cruiser saw the motorcycles speeding in the 50-mph zone, and he tried to pull Keith Daniel Williamson over, she said.

The 26-year-old didn't stop. After less than a minute, the officer stopped following Williamson's motorcycle because he wasn't allowed to chase it any farther, Watts said.

"When it was evident that the vehicle was not going to stop, he called it off," she said.

Clearwater police policy only allows officers to chase vehicles if they're following a suspect of a violent crime, such as a homicide or aggravated battery, Watts said. Anything less than a violent felony wouldn't warrant a chase.

She said there isn't a speed limitation on chases in their policy. Watts said the officer used radar to measure the motorcycle's speed, and it was likely the officer also topped 125 mph.

On the other side of the bridge, near Bay Harbor Drive, Williamson slammed into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser, according to the patrol.

Trooper Dawayne Maddux, 32, was parked in the bridge's inside lane near a construction zone with his vehicle's emergency lights on but was "moving to the outside lane" when his cruiser was struck by the motorcycle, the FHP said.

Williamson's Suzuki hit the back of the cruiser, and he and 24-year-old passenger Jenna Elizabeth Scott were thrown from the motorcycle, according to the FHP. Troopers are investigating.

Williamson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Scott was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. She was in serious condition Friday.

Maddux had minor injuries but wasn't taken to the hospital.

Watts said she wasn't sure whether the motorcycles were racing down the causeway or simply driving very fast.

Per department policy, the officer will write a report about the attempted traffic stop, which will be reviewed by supervisors, she said.

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