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Hit-and-run crash on Dunedin Causeway leads to chase, another wreck, arrest

DUNEDIN — A 33-year-old Palm Harbor man was arrested early Wednesday after a hit-and-run crash led to a chase that ended in a wreck on the Dunedin Causeway, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

No one was injured.

The incident began about 6:45 a.m. when John Michael Lyons, driving a red 2006 Hummer, struck Arvia Travelsead's parked pickup off the side of Causeway Boulevard near the drawbridge, deputies said.

Travelsead, a foreman for Roland Inc., was doing paperwork at the time his vehicle was rear-ended. After the crash, deputies said, Lyons backed up and fled the scene.

Deputies spotted Lyons shortly afterward as he traveled south on Alt. U.S. 19 near San Jose Boulevard in Dunedin. They tried to conduct a traffic stop, but he refused to stop, deputies said, instead turning onto Hancock Street.

Deputies tried at several points to use stop sticks to disable the Hummer, but Lyons was able to see them and drive around them, deputies said. In one case, Lyons saw a deputy deploying the stop sticks and drove off the road at the deputy, they said.

Lyons also tried to ram and force pursuing deputies off the road several times throughout the chase, deputies said.

The chase eventually came back onto Causeway Boulevard, reaching speeds of more than 55 mph.

Lyons crashed through the gate to Honeymoon Island State Park, which was closed at the time. But the park only has one entrance and deputies deployed stop sticks there. Unable to go anywhere else, Lyons tried to drive back through the entrance and ran over the stop sticks, flattening his tires, deputies said.

He tried to keep driving, but was rammed by a deputy's cruiser, forcing his Hummer off the road into a power pole.

Deputies pulled Lyons from the vehicle. He was wearing only a T-shirt and boxers. According to reports, deputies found several types of prescription drugs, including oxycodone and morphine and eight syringes.

Lyons told deputies he was planning on fishing from the causeway when, for some reason, he went off the road and crashed. Deputies didn't find any fishing tackle.

Lyons faces charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage, and possession of hydrocodone, diazepam, methadone and morphine.

He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $160,250 bail.

Hit-and-run crash on Dunedin Causeway leads to chase, another wreck, arrest 11/30/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:23am]
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