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Investigators say fatality was result of road rage
The FHP seeks the data recorder from the truck in a crash that also left two injured.
By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer
Published October 15, 2007
A road rage incident left two trucks overturned, with one person dead and two others injured.
[David Degner | Times]
Brian Haag, 27, was arrested on three counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death.
HUDSON - The ever ubiquitous pick-up truck is many things in Pasco County. A necessity for some, transportation for many, a status symbol for others.
But with Brian Haag behind the wheel, authorities say, it became something else entirely:
A weapon that killed one, left two vehicles overturned and three bodies strewn about Kitten Trail on Oct. 3, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
But an FHP search warrant reveals this was no mere crash - this was road rage turned fatal.
Haag, 27, fled the accident scene, the FHP said, only to turn himself in a day later. He was arrested on three counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death.
The other driver, Kenneth Sapp, 38, of Spring Hill, was killed. His son, Korey Sapp, 13, suffered a broken leg. David Smith, 29, a passenger in Haag's truck, suffered a broken neck.
Haag faces more charges in the crash, according to FHP Trooper Larry Coggins Jr., and the investigation is continuing.
That's what the warrant is for: to get electronically-recorded data from Haag's 2003 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up.
But it's most compelling passages come from the eyewitness account of Martin Smith, brother of the injured David Smith, who watched the whole thing unfold while driving his own pick-up truck behind Haag.
He said it started with Haag speeding well past the 40 mph limit on northbound Hicks Road, Smith said. Ahead was Kenneth Sapp's 2002 Dodge Ram pick-up.
Haag came right up to Sapp and started tailgating him, the warrant said. Sapp tapped his brake lights, the witness said, to get Haag to "back off."
Instead, it set Haag off. He passed Sapp and slammed on his brakes on Hicks Road, the warrant said, forcing Sapp to stop.
Haag got out. Sapp didn't and took off, turning right onto Kitten Trail. Haag jumped in his Chevy and followed, the witness said. A high-speed chase was on.
The two pick-ups did more than 80 mph in a 40 mph zone, the warrant said, passing numerous vehicles in no passing lanes on eastbound Kitten Trail.
Martin Smith lost sight of what happened next.
When the street turned into an S-curve, according to the warrant, the right side of Haag's truck sideswiped Sapp's left side in the middle of the roadway.
Sapp was in the eastbound lane, the FHP said, and Haag was also headed east - in the westbound lane.
After the collision both drivers lost control and overturned, the warrant said. Martin Smith drove up as the vehicles were still rolling.
Everyone save Haag was thrown from the vehicles.
Martin Smith stayed to help his brother. His passenger, Anthony Haugh, drove Martin Smith's pick-up to the Smith's home.
Unbeknownst to anyone, the warrant said, Haag was hiding in the pick-up bed.
When Haugh got to Smith's house, he said Haag get out of the bed and just walked away.
Haag, of 9951 Loy St. in Moon Lake, is being held in the county jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.
State records show he has an extensive history of criminal and traffic offenses dating to 1995.
David Smith was put in a medically-induced coma, the warrant said. He remained in critical condition Friday at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.