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About that Siesta Drive crash in June…

By Rachel Brown Hackney

It took several months for investigators with the Sarasota Police Department to conclude their work on the June 14 Siesta Drive incident that resulted in part of the road being shut down for several hours during the morning commute, Genevieve Judge, the public information officer for the department reported.

Officers were dispatched to the scene at 5:38 a.m. on June 14 and did not clear the area until 8 a.m., the report noted.

When the first Sarasota Police Department officer arrived, the report said, he found that “duty patrol officers had secured the scene from Norsota Way to Seagrape Drive.” The crash occurred in the 800 block of Siesta Drive.

The driver of the vehicle, Tyler Leonard, 27, of Windsong Lane, was traveling eastbound at a high rate of speed when he ran off the road and struck a concrete Florida Power & Light Co. pole, the report added.

The pole “was broken near the top, the report noted.

The vehicle’s speedometer “was stuck between 110-114 mph,” the report said.

The collusion caused the vehicle to spin counterclockwise, the report added. The passenger side crashed through a fence and slid across a small tree before coming to rest in the front yard of the house at 830 Siesta Drive. Leonard “had severe injuries,” the report pointed out. When an officer spoke with him at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the report added, Leonard indicated that he had no memory of the crash. He had to be extricated from the vehicle, the report said.

The vehicle he was driving was a 2008 Nissan Altima, the report noted. He was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the report, but the front air bag deployed during the crash.

At the location of the crash, the report noted, the east-west road curves to the north. The speed limit in that area is 40 mph, the report added.

When an officer spoke with Jessica D. Leonard, Tyler’s mother, at the hospital, Jessica Leonard explained that she had awoken Tyler that morning. The report added that Tyler was late for work when he left his home.

She told the officer that he had worked long days for the past several days “and had appeared fatigued,” the report continued.

With the mother’s assistance, an officer was able to check Tyler Leonard’s cellphone, which was found in the vehicle, and determine that he had not sent any text messages or made or taken any calls just before the incident, the report noted.