Police are searching for the female passenger of a white Chevrolet Impala who eluded capture Friday night after the reckless driver of the vehicle fled from a traffic stop conducted by the St Augustine Police Department.
Shortly after 10:00 p.m. February 22, police were in pursuit of the vehicle; being driven by 19-year-old Leno Malijah Gee, who resides at 11086 Losco Junction Drive in Jacksonville. Gee was traveling north on Masters Drive at a high rate of speed, estimated to be about 70 m.p.h.
When Gee reached the intersection with SR-16, he ran the red light — striking the driver’s side of a westbound Chevrolet Sonoma pickup truck with enough force to total the vehicle. The driver, 56-year-old Peter DuPont of St Augustine, was critically injured in the crash.
The victim’s mother, Estela DuPont, said her son was almost killed. “Because of the impact, his diaphragm ruptured; and, in the process, his stomach, spleen and large intestine went up into his chest cavity,” DuPont said.
The occupants of the Impala fled the area on foot. An aerial and ground search was initiated. In the coordinated effort, a Sheriff’s spokesman said the K9 team and Air 1 were able to locate Gee, and another occupant, 22-year-old Tyreik Devon Salmond, whose last known address was 200 Whispering Woods Lane in St Augustine, in a swampy area north of SR-16. The third occupant, a female passenger, was not located during the search.
Gee was treated for minor injuries sustained in his apprehension and released by Flagler Hospital. He was taken into custody by Sheriff’s deputies for outstanding warrants involving violent crimes in Duval County, and resisting arrest without violence. St Augustine Police filed additional charges against Gee of reckless driving, fleeing or eluding police, and resisting arrest without violence. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the factors that caused that crash.
DuPont’s condition reportedly has not changed much. According to his wife Suzanne’s account of Friday night’s crash, her husband underwent 4 hours of surgeries to repair a 6-inch tear in his diaphragm; doctors had to repair and reposition all his organs and remove his spleen. The victim’s younger sister, Sandra DuPont Pamer, said that Peter is still in the surgical recovery ward today, and doctors are telling the family that they are looking at him being there a week. DuPont has another sister, Ivy. So far, only immediate family may visit.
As the investigation continues, Gee remains in custody in lieu of $100,009 bond.
Anyone with information about the third passenger’s identity or whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers (888)277-TIPS (8477). You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.