Woman dies in pursuit crash

An unlicensed 15-year-old fleeing police ran a red light, authorities say.

By KAMEEL STANLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published August 3, 2007

DUNEDIN - An unlicensed teenage driver fleeing a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy caused a fatal crash Wednesday night that killed a mother of three, officials said.

Danielle Harrison Edwards, 34, of Palm Harbor, died when the Jeep in which she was riding was smashed by a Mitsubishi driven by a 15-year-old boy, according to sheriff's officials.

The wreck took place at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Beltrees Road.

Investigators identified the Mitsubishi's driver as Devan J. Larue of 2902 Star Apple Court in Palm Harbor.

On Thursday, Edwards' family said they were shattered. They described Edwards as the dedicated mother of three boys.

"She loved her kids," said Edwards' father, Dan Harrison. "She was a wonderful mother."

Edwards and her husband Joe have three sons: 17-year-old Chase, 11-year-old Brenden and 4-year-old Nathan. The family live in a small house on Berkshire Court.

Edwards' family said she was probably riding home with a colleague from the Ozona restaurant where the two of them worked.

Riding with Edwards was 20-year-old Bradley Matthew Womack of 455 Alt. U.S. 19 S, in Palm Harbor. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he was in good condition Thursday.

Sheriff's officials said it was not clear who was driving the Jeep, but gave this account of the events leading up to the wreck:

Just after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff's Deputy Jose Camacho spotted a gray Mitsubishi driving erratically on Milwaukee Avenue.

The car ran a stop sign at Union Street and Kings Highway, nearly causing an accident. Officials said Thursday they would like to talk to the driver nearly struck by the Mitsubishi at Union Street.

Camacho then put on his emergency lights, signaling the Mitsubishi to stop.

"Instead, he accelerated though the light at Beltrees Road," sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said. "That's when he struck the Jeep headed east."

The Mitsubishi Larue was driving is registered to his mother, Dawn Larue, Barreda said.

"The particulars about why he had it or when he took it is under investigation," Barreda said. "It's going to take some time to piece this all together."

Larue was arrested and taken to the county's juvenile assessment center. He faces charges of felony fleeing and eluding, driving without a valid license and running a stop sign.

Two other teens in the Mitsubishi do not face any charges. Barreda identified them as M.T. Jacobs, 15, and Charles Bullock, 14, both of Dunedin. Both were treated for minor injuries at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@sptimes.com or 727 445 4158.

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To help

Sheriff's investigators are looking for the driver nearly hit about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at Union Street and Kings Highway. Anyone with information about that near-collision is asked to call (727) 582-6200.