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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Homicide Unit is investigating a crash between a motorcycle and van which resulted in the deaths of two people and injuries to another.
The crash occurred Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at about 4:07 p.m. on Berkley Road in Auburndale.
Also responding to the scene were Auburndale Police, Auburndale Fire, and Polk County Fire Rescue.
The driver of the motorcycle was identified as 50-year old Michael Hamilton of Lakeland. He and his female passenger, 46-year old Jeana Wright of Auburndale, were killed when the black 2004 Honda Shadow motorcycle they were on slammed into the side of a burgundy 2012 Honda Odyssey van, driven by a 79-year old woman from Lake Alfred. She remains hospitalized in stable condition. Her 20-year old passenger was not injured.
According to the preliminary investigation, PCSO detectives attempted a traffic stop on Mr. Hamilton on eastbound Old Dixie Highway at Berkley Road, after they noticed the tag registration didn’t match the motorcycle.
After the detective activated emergency lights, the motorcycle turned onto Berkley Road and began to accelerate. Upon realization that Hamilton was fleeing, the detective deactivated the emergency equipment and discontinued efforts to stop him.
The motorcycle continued northbound at a high rate of speed while it approached the intersection of Oak Crossing Boulevard.
The driver of the van was stopped at the intersection at the Oak Crossing neighborhood. She then began to turn left, into the southbound lanes of Berkley Road.
The motorcycle struck the van at a high rate of speed right behind the driver’s seat. Hamilton and Wright were ejected from the motorcycle and landed inside of the van.
“Two witnesses confirmed that the motorcycle passed them at a high rate of speed, and there were no law enforcement vehicles or emergency lights in sight, and they heard no sirens. Detectives recognized right away that Hamilton was being reckless, so they disengaged. He fled from law enforcement one time too many; this time it cost him his life. Had Hamilton survived the crash, he would have been charged with the death of his passenger.”- Grady Judd, Sheriff
Michael Hamilton has an extensive arrest history which includes two convictions of fleeing to elude law enforcement. His driver’s license is currently revoked, he has no motorcycle endorsement, and has had 15 previous license suspensions. His prior criminal history includes arrests for grand theft motor vehicle (4x), driving without a license and causing death or serious injury, theft, trespassing, and numerous drug possessions.