A Flagler County paramedic bandages Matthew Nesbitt's bite wounds as Sheriff Rick Staly looks on. At right: Staly and a deputy lead Nesbitt to a patrol car. (Photos courtesy of the FCSO)

Sheriff's Office K-9 takes down car theft suspect after two-hour chase through Palm Coast's Z-Section

Matthew Scott Nesbitt, 44, used a knife to threaten deputies before a police dog caught him. He's suspected of stealing his mother's GMC Jimmy.
By: 
Nov. 7, 2017

A Bunnell man suspected of stealing his own mother's car led deputies on a chase through the woods that lasted almost two-and-a-half hours Nov. 6. He then brandished a large fixed-blade knife and threatened to kill the deputies before a Sheriff's Office K-9 latched onto him.

The suspect, 44-year-old Matthew Scott Nesbitt, is already on probation for other crimes. He ditched his mother's stolen gold 2001 GMC Jimmy on Zebulahs Trail to elude deputies the morning of Nov. 6 and was seen hopping a fence and running to the woodline, according to an arrest report. 

Flagler County's emergency helicopter, Fire Flight, searched for him as Sheriff Rick Staly joined deputies, the K-9 Unit and detectives who shut down southbound traffic on nearby Belle Terre Parkway and set up a perimeter around Zebulahs Trail, Zaun Trail and Zelda Court, according to a Sheriff's Office news release. 

School bus drop-offs were delayed and nearby schools were notified until Nesbitt was caught.

Deputy Jon Duenas and K-9 Deputy Valor found Nesbitt, but he fled until K-9 Deputy Marko and Cpl. Fred Gimbel caught him in the woods behind 10 Zelda Court.

Nesbitt punched Marko multiple times to get the dog to stop biting, according to the arrest report. Marko was not injured and is "doing fine," according to a Sheriff' Office spokeswoman.

Flagler County paramedics bandaged Nesbitt's bite wounds at the scene, and Nesbitt was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler for further treatment before he was booked at the county jail with no bond.

“Our deputies did a great job apprehending him quickly to protect the community and school children getting home,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in the news release. “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." 

Nesbitt is charged with grand theft auto, three counts aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, battery on a police dog and fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement, according to jail records.