Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Deadly high-speed chase is under investigation

The Sheriff's Office is reviewing a high-speed chase that resulted in a wreck that killed a 23-year-old man and injured two teenagers early Nov. 9.

Lt. Joe Paez said the Sheriff's Office will review the case to make sure deputies acted properly when they chased William Lovett Jr. of 16124 Melbourne St.

Lovett would not stop when Deputy Rob Santoro tried to pull him over for speeding. Lovett slammed into another car and died.

Although an inquiry has started, the Sheriff's Office isn't saying anything was done wrong.

"That's not to say we believe there was a policy violation," Paez said.

No one has complained, but Sheriff Richard Nugent ordered a review to make sure deputies acted properly, Paez said.

The incident began shortly after midnight on Saturday when Santoro clocked Lovett's Ford station wagon traveling 76 mph in a 55 mph zone on Spring Hill Drive.

Santoro flipped on his lights and started following Lovett, who sped up, authorities said.

Lovett ran a red light and turned north on California Street, where he continued swerving and accelerated to 100 mph, authorities said.

As Santoro followed, another deputy, William Martinez, placed a stinger _ a device meant to puncture tires _ near the intersection of California Street and Wiscon Road.

Lovett drove over the metal sticks, which did nothing, authorities said.

He drove a little farther.

Then he slammed into Bryant Clark, who was driving his Ford pickup truck as Cleveland White sat in the passenger seat. The teens, heading off for a weekend of hunting, saw the car coming but could not stop.

Both were injured and now are home recovering.

Lovett died at the scene.

Authorities said Lovett's license had been suspended in July 2000 for failure to complete a substance abuse course. His station wagon smelled of alcohol, and deputies found a beer can in a 7-Eleven bag, which they believe was between Lovett's legs as he drove.

Paez said the Sheriff's Office also is examining why the stinger did not puncture Lovett's tires to see whether new equipment is needed.