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March 19, 2015

It was a bad night for a Titusville, Florida man. Police says the man led them on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle after being involved in a DUI accident.

On March 5, Thomas Schaffer, 24, stopped at the intersection of U.S. 1 near the boat ramp in a 2001 Pontiac Bonneville, according to media reports. He pulled out onto U.S. 1 and right into the path of a Honda motorcycle. The motorcycle was ridden by Ralston Wade Wells, 56, of Cocoa, Fla. Wells was ejected from the motorcycle and landed on the pavement. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Schaffer did not stop after the accident and fled the scene. Later that night, at 2 a.m., police attempted to stop a 2013 Chevrolet truck with Pennsylvania license plates on U.S. 1 in south Titusville. The truck had been reported stolen. The truck fled the scene and led police on a high-speed chase. Shaffer was later identified as the driver of the truck. During the pursuit, Shaffer took police through the area of the highway that was blocked off from the earlier motorcycle accident. During the chase, police used a helicopter as well as multiple police vehicles.

To stop the high-speed chase, police deployed spike strips on Sandra Drive. Shaffer drove over the strips, which popped the truck’s tires. Shaffer continued to drive the truck until he was trapped by police in a cul-de-sac. As police approached the vehicle, Schaffer took off and rammed the truck into a police vehicle. Law enforcement officials pulled Schaffer from the vehicle, but he continued to resist arrest. He failed a field sobriety test, and police found empty containers of alcohol in the truck.

He was eventually arrested and placed in jail and charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault of law enforcement officers with a weapon or firearm; two counts of aggravated fleeing or eluding an accident with injury or property damage; and one count each of fleeing or eluding with lights, siren, high speed or reckless, DUI with property damage, driving while license suspended/revoked/canceled with knowledge first offense, reckless driving, leaving accident without giving information and grand theft of a motor vehicle.

After the chase, police found the 2001 Pontiac Bonneville that was involved in the motorcycle accident near where the 2013 Chevrolet truck was stolen. A bloodhound took officers to the Pontiac. Charges are pending against Schaffer for the death of the motorcyclist, and the results of a blood test should be available soon.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida automobile accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 888-FLA-AUTO (888-352-2886) for a free initial consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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