Clermont man spotted driving wrong way had medical episode, police say

Video shows white SUV driving north in southbound lanes

CLERMONT, Fla. – The man seen driving the wrong way on a busy Clermont road Monday morning was suffering from a medical episode and has no memory of the dangerous incident, Clermont police said after locating the man at his home.

"He had no recollection of that incident, which does show some type of medical problem at the time," Sgt. Malcolm Draper from the Clermont Police Department said. 

Authorities say the wrong way driver was leaving Lake Minneola High School and heading to make a dental appointment when the incident happened. Clermont Police said they tracked down the driver because of several witnesses who called 911 and gave them his license plate number. 

The incident was captured on a Facebook video by Savanna Fox, 19, who was driving north on U.S. Highway 27 when she saw a white Ford Escape driving next to her in the southbound lanes, also driving north.

"I think maybe they should have probably taken his driver's license immediately and done something right then and there," Fox said. 

The video shows the man driving a white Ford Escape the wrong way on US Highway 27 from Citrus Tower North to Hooks Street, police said. When Fox pulled up next to the driver, she and another citizen got out and tried to prevent him from continuing to drive the wrong way.

Fox told News 6 she was mad.

She said her friend got into a head-on crash a while back and thankfully, she's OK, but the driver of that crash she said did not survive. That’s why Fox said she took Monday's incident so seriously. She said she's happy in Monday's case, no one was hurt.  

Citizens called police to the area after stopping the driver at the light, however when Clermont police arrived, they were unable to find the vehicle in question.

Police later found the man at his Clermont home. Officers showed him the video of the incident and he has not memory of it, police sad.

The man told officers he arrived home Monday night and found a doctor's card in his wallet. He had no memory of that doctor's visit or that day, Clermont police said.

The driver told police he suffers from a medical condition and as a result sometimes suffers from "memory loss and acts differently." He told officers that when he has had these episodes in the past a family member or co-worker has been there to help him.

Police said the driver is 52 years old.

Police said that due to the man's condition, he will have to be re-evaluated by the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

"In the meantime, his driving privileges are not in jeopardy pending the review of the medical board,"  Draper said.

No criminal charges are being filed against the driver.

Fox said she thinks more needs to be done to keep drivers safe.

"I don’t think he should be on the road now, especially if he’s going to have medical episodes like that," she said.

News 6 has contacted the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department to find out how long the evaluation process might take. This post will be updated when and if a reply is received.

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