Man flees, drives into building

Published 11:30 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

A 20-year-old Excel man fled from police officers Thursday night leading them on a high-speed chase through Atmore before crashing into this vacant building across from the VFW on Ashley Street.|Photo by Chandler Myers

An Excel man is in serious condition after fleeing from Atmore Police Department officers Thursday evening and crashing his vehicle into a vacant building across from the VFW on Ashley Street.

According APD reports, an officer observed a 1994 white Honda Accord driven by Zachary A. Smith, 20, traveling south on Martin Luther King Drive at a high rate of speed. The officer conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Ashley Street and Martin Luther King. As the officer exited his patrol car and began walking up to the car, Smith restarted the vehicle and fled westbound on Ashley Street.

A pursuit then ensued, but officers lost sight of the vehicle on Ashley Street and North Main Street. After a search of the area, the car was located after it struck the building.

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According to witnesses at the scene, Smith sped across an open field from North Main Street crossing to Ashley Street in the northern section of town.

Atmore Police Chief Jason Dean said officers are investigating the incident and will have more information following their work at the scene.

“We are still trying to sort things out as to what happened,” Dean said Thursday evening. “We will be able to tell more once we get everything sorted out.”

Paramedics with Atmore Ambulance transported Smith to Atmore Community Hospital where Lifeflight airlifted him to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.

Police officials did not release what charges, if any, would be filed.

Staff reporter Lisa Tindell contributed to this report.