SARASOTA -- A man and his passenger were killed in a fiery crash at the intersection of U.S. 301 and University Parkway early Tuesday after they fled an attempted traffic stop, authorities said.
About 2:34 a.m., Sarasota police tried to make a traffic stop on a car that had an expired tag, at the intersection of 24th Street and Washington Court. The vehicle failed to stop and continued eastbound on 24th Street, before turning north onto U.S. 301 and accelerated a high rate of speed, police said.
The officer did not pursue the vehicle.
A short time later, officers learned the car had crashed at the intersection of U.S. 301 and University Parkway.
Florida Highway Patrol said the 2007 BMW driven by Taurius Markeith Peterson, 35, of Sarasota, was heading north on U.S. 301 "at a high rate of speed in the right turn lane approaching the intersection with University Parkway."
Peterson failed to negotiate the right hand curve in the road and traveled onto the westside grass shoulder and struck an embankment leading up to some railroad tracks, according to a news release.
The car went airborne and collided with the south railroad support pole, which caused the vehicle to rotate in a clockwise direction. The car remained airborne while continuing to travel northbound across the eastbound lanes, until striking the north railroad support pole in the paved median of University Parkway, FHP said.
The car returned back to the ground landing on the guardrail located in the median of University Parkway. Due to the impact, the car was engulfed in flames, according to FHP.
Peterson and a passenger in the car, Heather Marie Roesler-Pando, 40, of Sarasota, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Troopers said they were investigating whether alcohol played a factor in the crash.
The crash closed University Park in both directions for several hours.