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2 killed in Auburndale crash after motorcyclist runs from traffic stop: PCSO

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Posted at 9:31 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 13:37:08-04

AUBURNDALE, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office said two people on a motorcycle died in a crash in Auburndale on Wednesday afternoon when the driver ran from an attempted traffic stop.

Authorities said the crash happened near Berkley Road just after 4 p.m.

Michael Hamilton, 50, of Lakeland, and his passenger, Jeana Wright, 46, of Auburndale died in the crash. The sheriff's office said Hamilton "slammed" his 2004 Honda Shadow motorcycle into the side of a 2012 Honda Odyssey at a high rate of speed.

Hamilton and Wright were thrown from the motorcycle and landed inside the van, authorities said.

The 79-year-old woman driving the van was injured and remains hospitalized in stable condition, authorities said. Her 20-year-old passenger was not injured.

The sheriff's office said detectives tried to pull Hamilton over on eastbound Old Dixie Highway at Berkley Road when they noticed the tag registration didn't match the motorcycle.

When the detective activated emergency lights, authorities said Hamilton turned onto Barkley Road and accelerated. The detective disengaged when he realized Hamilton was being "reckless," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Hamilton continued speeding as he approached the intersection of Oak Crossing Boulevard. The woman driving the van was stopped at the Oak Crossing neighborhood.

When she tried to turn left, onto the southbound lanes of Berkley Road, authorities said the motorcycle crashed into the van right behind where the driver's seat is.

“Two witnesses confirmed that the motorcycle passed them at a high rate of speed, and there were no law enforcement vehicles or emergency lights in sight, and they heard no sirens," Judd said. "Detectives recognized right away that Hamilton was being reckless, so they disengaged. He fled from law enforcement one time too many; this time it cost him his life. Had Hamilton survived the crash, he would have been charged with the death of his passenger.”

The sheriff's office said Hamilton had two previous convictions for fleeing to elude law enforcement. Authorities said at the time of the crash his license was revoked, he had no motorcycle endorsement and had 15 previous license suspensions.

His previous arrests included driving without a license and causing death or serious injury, the sheriff's office said.