A woman was seriously injured as her car caught fire in a car accident where a man ran a stop sign, then got out and fled the scene on foot, according to a Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office release.
Anne Fanning was driving a 2003 Mazda eastbound on the Brandon Parkway Extension at around 40 mph on July 27 at around 11:28 p.m., the release shows. Donald Ward, who was driving a 2007 GMC Envoy southbound on Providence Road at around 45 mph, ran a stop sign, crossed the westbound lanes, struck the raised median and struck Fanning’s Mazda in her driver’s door with the front of the Envoy.
While Ward fled the scene of the accident on foot, Fanning was stuck behind the wheel with critical internal injuries as the back of the vehicle caught fire, a Tampa Bay Times article shows. Deputies used six fire extinguishers to keep the fire from spreading to the cab until firefighters arrived at the scene.
A deputy and a tracking dog along with Air Service arrived to search for Ward. The dog called K9 Deuce tracked him to a retention pond surrounded by thick brush, but the dog was unable to find his exact location. However, a pilot located him at the edge of the pond, hiding under the brush and vines, then guided the tracking dog to the location. K9 Deuce bit down on his hand, but was unable to hold onto him. Ward swam under water to the middle of the pond, but quickly surrendered when he surfaced.
Ward was treated for minor injuries to his hand, arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash with injury, and later released on $2,000 bail. Deputies said he smelled of alcohol, but refused to submit to any field sobriety tests. Blood alcohol content and further charges are pending toxicology results.