Florida Man Steals Hearse From Gainesville Funeral Home – Causes 5 Car Pile Up
Florida Man William Calvin Stewart, 54, of Gainesville, is in the Alachua County jail after he stole a hearse from a Gainesville Funeral Home and then caused a five-car crash.
Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officers responded to a multiple-vehicle crash they say was caused by a man who stole a hearse from the Chestnut Funeral Home on Sunday afternoon.
According to Chuck Chestnut, Funeral Home employees were moving cars around at the home when Stewart jumped into the running hearse, backed up, hit a pole, and took off at a high rate of speed.
“There was no one in the car. It was just an empty vehicle, it is what we call a flower car, which we carried flowers and stuff like that and also remains, but no one was in it,” director of Chestnut Funeral Home, Chuck Chestnut, said.
Gainesville police said Stewart drove on NW 8th Avenue to the intersection of NW 34 Street, where he crashed into four other vehicles.
When police arrived at the scene, they identified the suspect as William Stewart. Stewart was injured in the crash and taken to the hospital.
“This is one of those random isolated incidences that, you know, you hear about. And it’s kind of hard to even imagine someone stealing something so unique as a hearse,” GPD Lt. Lisa Scott said.
Florida Man steals hearse from Florida funeral home, then crashes it, trashes it, and goes to jail… via /r/FloridaMan https://t.co/t3Dw3LgbnP
— floridamann (@floridamann11) April 17, 2023
Gainesville Pastor Michael Raburn told CBS4 News he was driving on NW 34 Street and saw everything unfold. “I could see coming up, coming north on 34th, the hearse. And he was driving very fast. I’ve never seen a hearse drive that fast before,” Raburn said he called 911 to ensure they knew it.
“He was driving through the turn lanes and trying to, like, just blow through all the traffic on both sides, you know, illegally passing cars in the lane, going north. He clipped a car as he passed it, trying to get back over, making him spin. And then he struck three or four other cars heading south,” Raburn said.
Chestnut says this is the first time they see this happening. “We never thought that something like that would happen, that someone would just jump in the car and take off. So it’s one of those unfortunate accidents that occurred. But I don’t know the gentleman, so I know that he has come through there many times, and we had to run him off,” Chestnut said.
Chestnut said the hearse is a possible “total loss” after the accident.
“The vehicle, the way it looks like it, has been totaled just from my observation. And now we have to deal with our insurance companies and stuff like that,” Chestnut said.
Stewart has now been released from the hospital, transferred to the Alachua County Jail, and charged with grand theft auto and criminal mischief.
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