CLEARWATER, Fla. - A Clearwater Police officer's dash cam video may show a motorcyclist died after a high-speed pursuit, despite the department's denial of any such chase.
When Keith Williamson, 27, crashed his motorcycle into an Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) cruiser on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in late February, Clearwater Police denied chasing him and his friends.
According to the FHP, a Clearwater Police officer clocked the avid biker and his friends going 127 miles per hour just before entering the bridge heading east around 10:30 p.m. on February 20. The original report claimed Williamson lost control and swerved into the FHP trooper's vehicle.
When looking into the events surrounding the crash, ABC Action News found conflicting information.
Williamson's friends told a completely different story about what caused his death. According to witnesses riding beside him, the group reached speeds of close to 200 mph. They also claim the FHP trooper pulled into traffic.
Mark Blanchard, returning home from the Straz Center, confirmed seeing the same chaos (see original story at http://wfts.tv/XDbt6O
"It was a very dangerous situation. I'm surprised they were doing it," said Blanchard. "That was my first thought, because they could close off either end of the bridge and catch them. To be that close was a very dangerous situation."
A friend who asked to be identified by first name only reported a graphic scene, precipitated by a wild ride that lasted miles.
"It was unbelievable how fast this guy's car was," Miguel said. "He knew what he had, and he used his car for what he wanted to do."
After ABC Action News reported their side of the story, a spokesperson for FHP announced the trooper did, in fact, pull into traffic.
Clearwater Police, however, still denied a high-speed chase.
Newly-released video from the dashboard camera of the police cruiser, however, may prove otherwise. (See the dashboard camera video in the player above.)
"I was stunned," explained attorney John Trevena. "It's the most egregious example of police misconduct I've seen with respect to a high-speed police chase."
Trevena represents Keith's father, who wants answers about what really happened to his son. He told ABC Action News on Friday that he obtained video of the incident through a public records request with the Clearwater Police Department.
After reviewing the CPD officer's dash cam video this week, Trevena describes it as reckless driving if not chaos, claiming the officer swerves in and out of traffic, endangering the lives of motorists, even passing other bikers in an effort to catch Williamson in the lead.
"It is inconsistent with the officer's report," Trevena said. "The officer lied and should be investigated for criminal negligent homicide."
Clearwater Police deny releasing any video, and stand by their original statement that no police chase ever occurred.
"What I originally told you is correct," explained Clearwater Spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.
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