Lakeland Police say a 23-year-old man drove through a small wooded area, crashed his car into Lake Hollingsworth at Crystal Lake Road and then ran off on foot.
A witnessed videotaped Hunter William Gainey leaving the scene of the accident. LPD officers caught up with him behind First Presbyterian Church near the scene of the crash, sitting between two trees in a wooded area, and took him into custody.
Gainey was found wet from the chest down, wearing the same clothes seen in a cellphone video of the accident.
“He spontaneously uttered, ‘I’m sorry guys,'” an affidavit reads. “He then became emotional and began crying.”
It happened at about 8:30 p.m. — a busy time for walkers, runners and bikers around the lake. An hour later, an official with Joyce Automotive and Towing was on the scene, assessing how to pull the four-door, gray Honda from the lake. The car’s dashboard, head and tail lights were still running.
Lakeland Police spokesperson Stephanie Kerr said no other vehicles were involved and no one was injured.
LPD Officer Kaleb Wilson wrote in the affidavit that he could smell alcohol on Gainey’s breath. Initially, Gainey refused to submit to a field sobriety test, but changed his mind at the police station. The affidavit shows he failed multiple portions of the physical part of the test.
Gainey is charged with one count of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, one count of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, and failure to give information at the crash site.
This is the second time in five months that a car wound up in one of the city’s premier lakes. In May, Philip Peterson, 28, of Lakeland, drove over the curb at Ingraham Avenue and wound up about 150 feet into Lake Hollingsworth. Peterson told officers he wasn’t paying attention when the 4:30 a.m. accident happened. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: firstname.lastname@example.org