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Palm Coast Thursday, Jun. 13, 2019 4 months ago

Man driving stolen mail truck arrested after chase on Interstate 95

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Jesse Estep, 29, twice aimed the vehicle at deputies, according to the FCSO.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Flagler County Sheriff's Office deputies chased down a man driving a stolen mail truck on Interstate 95 in Flagler County, catching him after he lost control of the vehicle.

The A&E Network show Live PD featured the catch as its "crime of the week" during a recent episode, and the FCSO embedded a clip of that portion of the Live PD episode in a post on its official Facebook page June 13. 

Deputies had been alerted at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, that a man who'd threatened a postal worker with pepper spray and taken her vehicle was driving north on I-95 into Flagler County in the stolen truck.

They found the truck, which was driving recklessly,  and took over the pursuit, according to an FCSO news release.

A deputy began deploying Stop Sticks to try to slow the truck, but the driver swerved — intentionally, according to the news release — and drove directly toward the deputy, who was able to get out of the way by ducking behind a guard rail. The driver's rear tire hit the stop sticks.  

Then driver then swerved to the other side of the road to try to hit another deputy who was deploying Stop Sticks. The driver oversteered and the truck veered off the road, missing the deputy and striking a guard rail at mile marker 280, then overturned.

When deputies from Volusia and Flagler County pulled the driver out of the truck, he stank of pepper spray and had lacerations on his left arm and right palm, according to an FCSO charging affidavit. They identified him as 29-year-old Jesse Estep.

As deputies handcuffed him, he told a deputy that he'd been trying to kill himself.

"I f---ed up, sir," he said, then added, "Thank you all for not shooting me. Thank you all for not killing me."

"We're not here to hurt you," a deputy replied.

When a deputy asked him if he was taking any drugs, he said, "Methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, Molly, pills ...  I'm sorry man, please don't hurt me." He said he'd taken the drugs in an attempt to end his life.

Deputies arrested him and took him to AdventHealth Palm Coast.

Estep has been arrested multiple times in Flagler County and Volusia County on charges including battery, burglary, assaulting a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest, according to jail and court records.

“This is another great example of our agencies working together,” Sheriff Rick Staly said, according to the news release. “The suspect immediately told deputies that he was high on meth and cocaine. It is a miracle that no deputies, police officers, or other travelers on the roadway were hurt during the reckless driving of this suspect. I’m especially grateful that his efforts to injure my deputies failed. Criminals need to learn that if you commit crimes in Flagler County you will end up in the Green Roof Inn where you belong.” 

Estep is charged in Flagler County with grand theft auto, aggravated fleeing and eluding, and two counts aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, according to the news release. He also faces charges in Volusia County. He may also face federal charges for theft of the U.S. Postal Service truck.

The mail truck, which had mail in it during the chase, has been returned to the Postal Service. 

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