Police officials in Florida stated that they were able to put a stop to a woman who was allegedly attempting to cause a “mass casualty” event this past Thanksgiving when, as they reported, she tried to drive her vehicle directly through the course of a Turkey Trot that had multiple thousands of participants running on it.
The St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) explained that it had taken place in the wee morning hours Thursday when Ashlee Lauren Morgan, 38-year-old, took her Range Rover at a high rate of speed and came upon officers who were stationed next to a bridge with their emergency lights flashing, as reported by Fox 13.
“Morgan was observed driving recklessly south on Coffee Pot Boulevard Northeast, approaching the Snell Isle Bridge,” explained the department. “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.”
The police officials attempted to stop the crazed driver prior to her driving past them and out onto the road which held roughly 3,000 people that were taking part in the 5k race.
Police stated that Morgan “used, ignored commands of ‘stop!’ and fled the scene of the stop at an extremely high rate of speed, onto the actual racecourse, further putting the lives of runners/race participants at risk.”
Police stated further that Morgan had “acknowledged” one of the law enforcement agents, but just dismissively waves off the officer with her hand as she chose to try and drive off.
When she was stopped by an official stating that she was driving on a currently closed road, she seemingly cracked and enraged, explained police. Officers were later able to finally stop her.
Police went on to add, “If it were not for the officers at the intersecting gaining the defendant’s attention, and forcing her to stop, she would have ignored all traffic safety obstacles strategically placed at the intersection, and barreled through the intersection causing mass casualty to race participants.
The North Shore Elementary PTA, which was known to be the host of the 5K run, released a statement expressing “gratitude” for the efforts expressed by the police department.
“On behalf of the North Shore Elementary PTA, we would like to express our gratitude to the St. Petersburg Police Department for their quick actions to protect participants in yesterday’s Coffee Pot Turkey Trot 5K from a reckless driver,” the statement explained. “Our race planning committee works closely with the St. Petersburg Police Department on route management, course safety, and communication of street closings. This incident underscores the importance of those efforts. Yesterday’s Coffee Pot Turkey Trot 5K was carried out safely and successfully and we thank the police for their work and our participants for entrusting us with their safety.”
Officially, Morgan was slammed with charges of reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, and resisting an officer without violence.