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Impaired man arrested after speeding from deputy, causing traffic crash in Palm Harbor

Posted at 12:53 PM, Jan 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-21 12:53:38-05

An 18-year-old Pasco County man was arrested early Sunday after he sped away from a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy then collided with a vehicle stopped at a traffic light on U.S. 19, officials said.

Kingzig Montanez of Holiday was driving his mother's 2017 Hyundai Elantra southbound on U.S.19 near Innisbrook Drive in Palm Harbor.

Deputies said Montanez was driving at a high rate of speed when he passed a deputy on U.S. 19 North and swerved into the traffic lane in front of the deputy's patrol vehicle. The patrol deputy activated his emergency lights and sirens as the Hyundai sped away.

The deputy lost sight of the Hyundai, a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office news release said. The Hyundai headed south toward the intersection of Tampa Road, where a 2016 Fiat 500 occupied by three people was stopped at a traffic light.

The Hyundai collided into the rear of the Fiat 500 about 1:41 a.m. Sunday. The driver of the Fiat, Heath Ready, 28, and his two passengers, Annabelle Gardner, 22, and Richard Serra III, 27, were all taken by ambulance to Mease Countryside Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Montanez also was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He will be moved to the Pinellas County Jail for booking when he is medically cleared to leave the hospital.

Deputies believe Montanez was impaired, and speed also was a factor in the crash, the release said.

Montanez faces charges of one count of fleeing and eluding, leaving the scene of a crash with injury/property damage, no valid driver's license, resisting arrest without violence, and driving under the influence.