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More Details Emerge About Triple Fatal Car Crash In Suwannee County

By: Matt Galka; Garin Flowers Email
By: Matt Galka; Garin Flowers Email

By: Garin Flowers
December 2, 2013

Live Oak, FL - Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron said he got a call around one in the morning on Thanksgiving. It was about the deadly car crash that claimed the lives Lonnie Freeman, 20, Patrelle Stokes, 16, and Shiatera Wimbash, 20.

"Anytime someone tragically loses their life, especially a young person, it's hard on the community," Sheriff Cameron said.

It started with a 911 disturbance call at the McDonald's on U.S. 129 and I-10 in Live Oak.

"The management had tried to talk to them and they were rude to the management and they wouldn't do anything they were asked to do," he said.

He said deputies responded and questioned people but a group of four tried to take off in a car driven by Freeman. Deputies said they refused to stop when asked to.

"The deputy approached the driver side of the car and when he did, they decided to leave and they took off and they hit the other car," Cameron added.

Next, Cameron said they drove into town and eventually struck the Workforce Plus building on Spruce Street NW. A fourth passenger Kwon Matthews, 23, is the only survivor and still at the hospital.

"They say he doesn't have any broken bones, his vital signs are good and I think it will all work out," said Georgia Tompkin, the grandmother of Matthews and Stokes who are brothers.

Now the family is just looking for closure.

"God is too wise to make a mistake and too just to do wrong, so I'm going to leave it in God's hands," Tompkin said.

Sheriff Cameron said the Florida Highway Patrol is handling the investigation of the crash and the incident that took place at McDonald's.


By: Eyewitness News
November 29, 2013

Live Oak, FL - The Florida Highway Patrol reports that a third passenger in the vehicle, 20-year-old Shiateria Wimbash, has died.

Wimbash was pronounced dead at Shands Hospital in Gainesville early Friday morning.


By: Matt Galka
November 28, 2013

Live Oak, FL -- The family of the victims of an early Thanksgiving morning fatal car crashed mourned their losses at their home. The crash started with a chase and left two dead and two others seriously injured.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 20-year-old Lonnie Freeman was driving and was pronounced dead at the scene along with 16-year-old passenger Patrelle Stokes.

The matriarch of the family, Georgia Tompkins, was Stokes' grandmother.

"He was loved by everybody," said an emotional Tompkins. "He had a lot of friends and they just loved him."

The official report from F.H.P. states that it all began with a disturbance call from McDonald's at U.S. 129 and I-10. When deputies arrived, the 2002 Chevy Monte Carlo fled the parking lot and took police two miles south. That's when F.H.P. says the car lost control and crashed into a Workforce Plus building on Spruce St. NW.

Debris, including the car's warning light button, was still at the scene and the building was boarded up Thursday afternoon.

Two other passengers, 23-year old Kwon Matthews and 20-year-old Shiatera Wimbash were airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

"I just wish they would have listened to me when I told them 'don't get in that car," said family member Makayla Collier.

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office declined to answer questions about the pursuit.


By: Eyewitness News
November 28, 2013

Live Oak, FL -- Tragedy strikes in Suwannee County as two people are dead and two are hospitalized following a police pursuit and crash.

FHP reports that early Thanksgiving morning, the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office responded to a disturbance call at the McDonald’s on US 129 in Live Oak. Upon the deputies’ arrival, a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo fled the scene, striking another vehicle in the parking lot.

The driver of the Monte Carol began to travel south on US 129, actively fleeing the deputies, when he lost control of the vehicle, and hit the building at 815 Ohio Ave.

The driver, 20-year-old Lonnie Freeman, and passenger, 16-year-old Patrelle Stokes were both pronounced dead on the scene. Two other occupants, 23-year-old Kwon Matthews and 20-year-old Shiatera Wimbash were airlifted to Shands in Gainesville.

This crash is under investigation and updates will follow as information becomes available.


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