Man convicted of stealing car, assaulting deputies and hitting police dog
A Bunnell man has been convicted on seven counts in connection with a Nov. 6, 2017, incident in which he threatened deputies with a knife and punched a police dog after stealing his mother's SUV.
Matthew Nesbitt, 44, was convicted by a Flagler County jury July 25 of: grand theft motor vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, resisting an officer with violence, battery on a police dog, and three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
The county called out its emergency helicopter, Fire Flight, and a Sheriff's Office K-9 team to search for him, shutting down traffic on Belle Terre Parkway, setting up a perimeter around the area and delaying school bus drop-offs.
A deputy with a police dog found Nesbitt, who again fled until more deputies and another K-9 caught him in the woods behind 10 Zelda Court.
Nesbitt brandished a large fixed-blade knife and threatened to kill the deputies, and a Sheriff's Office K-9 named Marko latched onto him. Nesbitt punched Marko multiple times to get the dog to stop biting, according to his arrest report. The dog was not injured.
“Our deputies did a great job apprehending him quickly to protect the community and school children getting home,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a news release at the time. “K-9 Marko took a bite out of crime today, so let this be a warning to future dirtbags: If you threaten my deputies, we will come after you in full force, and we will get you."