FRANKLIN -- A man is dead after leading Franklin police on a wild chase that ended with the suspect in a pond.
It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon right outside a Wal-Mart parking lot off South 27th Street.
The sound of sirens caught the attention of shoppers in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
“This is a crazy afternoon,” said witness Joel Anderson. “I wasn't expecting to see this to come pick up some hunting stuff."
Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva said it all started after a suspect was being interviewed at a nearby store for a fraud complaint.
“He fled from the officer, ran into his vehicle and fled the scene," Oliva said.
Police followed the suspect to a road leading into the Wal-Mart where he struck this van while crossing the center line at high speeds.
"He was probably doing at least 45-50 miles per hour," said Anderson.
Judy was driving the van.
"I was making a turn into Wal-Mart and a guy came flying from behind, I never saw him coming,” she said. “He took the front end of my car and smashed it all out. Then he bounced over that way and he was way over here."
“The driver fled the vehicle and ran and jumped into a retaining pond near the scene," Oliva added.
Oliva said the Franklin Dive Team rushed to the scene in wet suits to recover the man who went under and never resurfaced in a marshy retaining pond.
"I want to say he was under water or in there for 20 to 25 minutes,” said Anderson. “All of a sudden they're already pulling him out."
The suspect was taken to the hospital where he died. Judy V. walked away from the crash feeling lucky to still be alive.
"The police told me a couple seconds more into the turn, he would have got me, he would have hit me,” she said. “The engine saved my life is what happened."
There was a passenger in the suspect's vehicle who also ran away from scene. She was captured by police Saturday afternoon.