Car crashes on Interstate 95 in Flagler County during 100 mph police pursuit

Northbound lanes of interstate reopen at mile marker 279

Local 6 News at 5:00p
Local 6 News at 5:00p

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A police chase reaching speeds of over 100 mph resulted in a crash on Interstate 95 in Flagler County, critically injuring a passenger and forcing officials to close the highway, officials said.

The wreck happened Tuesday morning on I-95 northbound at mile marker 279 near Old Dixie Highway.

Donald Harper, 24, confessed to killing a man in Columbia, South Carolina, in self-defense after getting a ride, according to police.

"Somewhere during the course of that ride, he alleges the victim pulled out a gun, so he pulled out his gun and shot him in the head," said Daytona Beach police Chief Mike Chitwood.

Police said Harper then stole the Jeep, picked up Daequan Cole, 21, and drove to Florida.

"Where else do you go after you commit a murder? 'It's spring break, let's go to Daytona Beach,'" said Chitwood.

According to Daytona Beach police, officers noticed a suspicious vehicle backed into a parking space. Harper and Cole were inside the car and appeared to be asleep.

A check of the car's tag showed it had been stolen and the owner was the victim of a homicide in South Carolina, police said.

Harper then led police on a high-speed chase down International Speedway and onto I-95 toward Flagler County after officers tried stopping him with stop sticks.

"Unfortunately, as is the case, the bad guys hear the police, they pull out, and they drive over stop sticks and the stop sticks don't work," Chitwood said.

Video captured the chase before Harper crashed into the woods and tried to make a run for it, leaving Cole behind unconscious. However, Harper didn't get too far; he ended up getting stuck in the marshes. Police eventually pulled him out and arrested him.

The stolen Jeep is at the police department, along with Harper, while Cole remains at Halifax Hospital. Local 6 is told Cole suffered head injuries and was last listed in critical but stable condition.

Harper has been charged with fleeing and evading. Once investigators talk to Harper, he'll be taken to the Volusia County Jail and then sent back to South Carolina.

All northbound lanes of I-95 were closed in the area but reopened around 7:30 a.m.

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