Fleeing suspect causes crash, pinning woman behind SUV

- In the blink of an eye, a New Port Richey woman went from climbing into her SUV Tuesday night to being pinned between it and her garage after a convicted felon crashed into the vehicle in her driveway.

Kozeta Lamko said she and her husband had decided to go out for a little while at around 8 p.m.  Lamko had no idea, however, that down the road on Louisiana Avenue, New Port Richey police had just tried to pull over Lionell Bates. 

Bates allegedly sped off, nearly crashing head-on into a police cruiser in the process.

"It sounded like 100 miles an hour," said Joann Gurney, who lives across the street from Lamko.

"I heard some tires squealing. Then I heard a loud thump," added Gary Heasley, another neighbor.

What Heasley heard was the sound of a white Range Rover slamming into the back of Lamko's SUV in her driveway on Carob Drive. Moments earlier, Lamko and her daughter saw the car heading toward them.

"We see this big, white SUV speeding and I just hear my daughter yelling, 'Don't get in the car!'" Lamko recalled. "The other SUV hit my car and my car hit me on the chest and then I got pushed inside the garage door and then I went inside, practically sitting on the garage door."

Lamko heard her husband's shouts.

"My husband was screaming for me because he couldn't see me because I was pinned between the car and the garage door," she said, adding even she feared the worst. "In that moment, even when the car hit me, I wasn't feeling anything. It was just, I closed my eyes and I thought I would be dead."

Somehow Lamko didn't break a single bone and only ended up with some bad cuts and bruises.

"If we were inside the car, if it were two minutes later, I don't think we would be here talking," she told FOX 13.

Police said Bates, however, wasn't done trying to get away from them; he got out of the car and ran off, but officers were able to track him down a short time later.

Investigators learned the Range Rover he was driving was reported stolen out of North Carolina two years ago.

Officers said they also found cash, a handgun, and ammunition in the vehicle.

Bates, 27, is now facing charges for drugs, weapons and assaulting an officer.  More charges are expected from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Fleeing suspect causes crash, pinning woman behind SUV
  • Despite best intentions, Puerto Rico relief bottleneck remains
  • Toddler's killer sentenced to 20 years
  • Suspected ATV, driver sought in fatal hit-and-run
  • Lakeland boy, 8, offers prayer during police open house
  • Troopers search for hit-and-run driver
  • Lakeland Electric sending crew to help restore power in Puerto Rico
  • HART reroutes bus service after Seminole Heights murders
  • Seminole Heights still searching for answers in wake of murders
  • Voters to Approve New St. Pete Parking Garage