Man running from deputy hit by vehicle on Florida Turnpike

2 taken to hospitals, Lake County officials say

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A man fleeing a deputy is struck by a vehicle on the Florida Turnpike.

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A man wanted by Ocala police was struck and critically injured on the Florida Turnpike in Lake County while running from a deputy, officials said.

Leslie Dennis Coombs, 33, of Lauderhill, was injured in the crash, which happened around 9 a.m. Thursday in the southbound lanes of the Turnpike at mile marker 291 near State Road 91.

According to the Ocala Police Department, a group known as Felony Lane has been targeting vehicles at city parks along Interstate 75 for the past three years.  Group members break into cars, targeting credit cards and checks, which they quickly convert to cash, officers said.

Ocala police on Thursday morning noticed a car burglary at Jervey Gantt Park, and two men drove off in a silver Lincoln MKT.  A 20-minute chase ensued, and the Lincoln was involved in three crashes but continued to travel out of Ocala city limits, police said. Police said the men sped away from authorities at speeds up 120 mph.

A Lake County deputy later noticed the vehicle apparently broken down on the interstate, and the deputy confronted two occupants, who ran away, police said.

Coombs darted across the Turnpike and was struck by a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Coombs was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition, the FHP said.

The other man, Brent Sampson, was arrested on charges of resisting arrest without violence and violation of probation for cocaine possession out of Broward County.

Both men face also charges of burglary, aggravated fleeing and eluding and leaving the scene of a crash.

All lanes of the Turnpike reopened about three hours after the crash.

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