‘It’s on fire:’ Carjacking pursuit ends in crash with Lake County school bus, deputies say

No one on the school bus was hurt

GROVELAND, Fla. – Video and 911 calls detailed a carjacking pursuit Friday morning which involved two counties and the ramming of three Lake County patrol cars before ending in a crash with a school bus in the Groveland area.

Lake County deputies said the pursuit started around 6 a.m. when they tracked down a stolen truck in Clermont. Deputies said Joseph Crawford, 23, was gassing up the vehicle when he saw the deputies and fled with the truck.

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Deputies said Crawford rammed two patrol cars and disabled one of them, adding they tried to box Crawford in at a construction site where he struck another patrol vehicle.


Bodycam footage shows him drive onto the construction site.

“Out of the car now! Get out of the car now, show me your hands!” a law enforcement official is heard shouting to Crawford.

The official can then be heard telling another deputy that the suspect is “stuck in the dirt, spinning his wheels, not listening to commands” before Crawford eventually peeling out and driving off.


A 911 caller following the stolen vehicle told dispatch the driver was “all over on the wrong side.”

“He’s more on the wrong side of the road than the right,” a woman said. “... It was a guy driving.”

Deputies said they followed Crawford east into Orange County. When the truck became disabled, deputies said Crawford tried to carjack a second vehicle and ran away.

Video shows the moment Crawford bails and flees on foot, running into the woods through another construction site.


“I think he jumped the fence, he’s over the hills. He’s entered a neighborhood,” a deputy can be heard saying as he chases after the suspect.

Crawford then managed to carjack a third vehicle, a Ford Bronco which deputies said he used to drive back into Lake County.

The pursuit ended in the Groveland area when Crawford crashed into a school bus carrying two adults and three children, the sheriff’s office said. No one on the bus was hurt.

The woman who called 911 was still on the phone with dispatch when the crash happened.

“He just hit a school bus,” she said. “He hit a school bus, he just hit a school bus. Oh (expletive), it’s on fire.”

Crawford was taken to an Orlando-area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He faces charges of fleeing and eluding, grand theft, resisting law enforcement officers and three counts of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

Previous mug shot of Joseph Crawford. (Lake County Sheriff's Office)

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About the Authors:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.