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Palm Coast Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 3 months ago

Man flees traffic stop, leading to helicopter search

He told the woman in the vehicle, whom he'd just met on a dating site, that if he was caught by law enforcement he'd be arrested, she later told deputies.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

A Bunnell woman, 42, met a man on a dating website. They went out for a late night dinner at the Denny's in Palm Coast. She'd driven them there, but afterward was not feeling so well, so she asked him to drive them home — and then things got weird, she later told deputies.

At about 2:10 a.m. Aug. 8, a deputy saw the couple's gray Dodge Charger at the intersection Palm Coast Parkway and Pine Lakes Parkway, and noticed that its tag light was out. The deputy tried to stop the car.

But instead of pulling over, the man fled. His date begged him to stop, but he said he couldn't because if he did, he'd go to jail, the woman later said to Flagler County Sheriff's Office deputies. 

The car did briefly pull into the parking lot of the First Baptist Church of Bunnell and stop, but then it fled again. The deputy, once he realized the vehicle was fleeing, turned off his emergency lights and sirens and followed at a distance as the car sped onto U.S. 1 and County Road 13, then County Road 205. The deputy coordinated with another deputy to have stop sticks placed at CR 205's intersection with State Road 100. The car hit them, but kept going, turning onto SR 100, then CR 305, "at a high rate of speed," according to the deputy's report.

The deputies found the car — and the woman, who was standing in front of it with her hands up — on Sherwood Street.

She told deputies she hadn't been driving, and explained how she'd met the man who had been. She said he'd run into the woods after stopping the car, and that he'd been wearing a red T-shirt, basketball shorts and a pair of red and white sandals. Deputies found the sandals still in the car, on the driver's side floor board.

Deputies called out a helicopter, Volusia County Air One, to search for the man, but the helicopter was not able to find him. They are still investigating.

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