Woman Dies After Getting Ejected From Truck, Police Say
After leaving a Largo bar early Friday morning, a woman died after she was ejected out of the back of a truck bed, according to authorities.
A woman died after she was ejected out of the back of a pickup truck after leaving the Watering Trough Bar on 66th Street in Largo early Friday, according to a media release.
Russell Allan Clark, 24, had four passengers in his Ford F150 as the group left the bar. Three women, including Lauren Elizabeth Gifford, 23, rode in the back of the pickup truck bed, according to a media release.
"Clark began driving erratically, traveling over the 66th Street median and then over a curb in the RaceTrac parking lot," the release states. "The bump over the curb caused the back of the pickup to jump, ejecting Lauren out the back, where she landed on the pavement."
According to Pinellas Park Police, after Gifford was ejected, Clark stopped the truck and everyone got out to check on her. A short time later, Clark allegedly fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle. One of the passengers, Brett Koepke, got back in the truck and reportedly drove off alone, leaving the other two female passengers and Gifford at the gas station, police report.
"Clark was seen running after the truck Northbound on 66th Street yelling at Koepke to stop, but Koepke did not, and Clark disappeared somewhere North of the Race Trac," police report.
Authorities found Clark later but have not yet located Koepke, whom police investigators still want to question. The truck was found at 7361 46th Ave. N., near Koepke's residence, police report.
Gifford was pronounced dead at the scene. The Medical Examiner is still determining cause of death.
No charges have been filed yet but are expected depending on toxicology
results, police said.
Editor's Note: The Wild Indian Saloon is holding a fundraising memorial in memory of Lauren, to help her family on Jan. 20 starting at noon, according to a post on its Facebook page.