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Jupiter man arrested in deadly DUI crash

Speeding in his father's Toyota Camry, Jacob Donovan had managed to escape the police officers tailing him, police say.

But minutes later, the drunken driving suspect slammed into the back of a Ford Focus — causing a crash that killed the Ford's driver, Rudolph Dansby, 55, of West Palm Beach, according to an arrest report.

The events started in Jupiter on Aug. 11 when Donovan, 27, of Jupiter, had gotten into an argument with his father about employment, West Palm Beach Police said.

Donovan took his dad's car about 9 p.m. His father said his son is bipolar and was seeing a psychiatrist, according to the report.

Jupiter Police found Donovan hours later, at 3:24 a.m. Aug. 12 in a gold 2003 Toyota Camry near East Indiantown Road and U.S. 1. Officers said Donovan appeared to be impaired based on his driving and yelling something out the window.

With lights flashing behind him, Donovan made a U-turn and took off down the highway, reaching speeds of about 90 mph through Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach, police said.

As officers watched Donovan's "extremely high speed and reckless driving" they cut off the chase as they entered Juno Beach, police said.

Police would lose track of Donovan in Palm Beach Gardens at 3:30 a.m. Surveillance video captured Donovan driving at a "very high rate of speed," police said.

Dansby, driving a blue 2003 Ford Focus, had just turned onto the road to head south, when four blocks later in the 5000 block of Broadway Avenue, Donovan slammed into the back of the car, causing the Focus to slam into a light pole.

The crash at 3:33 a.m. killed Dansby instantly, police said.

A witness, Casey McKenna, told police she heard the crash and rushed outside to find the Camry on fire and pulled Donovan out.

Several empty beer cans were found inside the car, according to the report.

Officers interviewed Donovan at St. Mary's Hospital and said he told them he was drinking cough medicine and trying to kill himself by running into a wall or a bank building, police said.

Donovan said "he had the gas pedal to the floor and, when he approached the rear of the victim's vehicle, he was too intoxicated and was driving too fast to swerve around him," an officer wrote in the report.

Donovan was detained after making suicidal threats. Toxicology tests showed his blood-alcohol level was .101. The legal limit is .08.

Donovan was arrested Thursday and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail, where he was held without bail. He faces charges of DUI homicide, vehicular manslaughter and fleeing and eluding police.

asacasa@tribune.com, 561-243-6607 or Twitter and Instagram @adamsacasa

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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