CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A stolen vehicle chase that began in Walton County ended with the Crestview Police Department arresting two teenage suspects when they reportedly ditched the car in downtown Crestview and ran Tuesday evening.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office and Crestview Police say they prepared to arrest the suspects as they fled west on U.S. Highway 90, escaping deputies who tried to do a traffic stop on the vehicle in Mossy Head. The car had been reported stolen in Westlake, Louisiana.
“We received a call of a suspicious vehicle on Trout Drive,” WCSO Spokesperson Corey Dobridnia said. “The kids were trying to get to Panama City. There are similarly named streets in DeFuniak Springs. These kids were basically lost. We tried to initiate a traffic stop and they just took off.”
“Deputies stated the vehicle (driver) had a willful disregard for other motorists on the highway during the pursuit,” Crestview Police Officer Jay Seals wrote in the suspects’ arrest reports.
Police say in case the suspects entered Crestview at a high speed, police shut down Ferdon Boulevard/State Road 85 traffic in both directions at the intersection of James Lee Boulevard/U.S. Hwy. 90, then blocked westbound Hwy. 90 traffic at the intersection.
“As the vehicle (driver) observed the intersection blocked, the driver…exited James Lee Boulevard East and entered into the parking lot of Wings of Fire,” Officer Seals reported.
Police say the driver, identified as Abbey Chris Bailey, 18, of Youngsville, Louisiana, crashed the car into a wooden fence behind the restaurant and ran into a nearby water retention pond, where deputies arrested him.
Police say Bailey’s passenger, Jeremy Cade Pate, 17, of Lafayette, Louisiana, fled on foot to Brett Street North, where he was arrested.
Pate was transported by Okaloosa County EMS to North Okaloosa Medical Center for treatment of shortness of breath sustained in the incident.
Both suspects were arrested and charged with felony grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting or obstructing an officer without violence. Bailey was also charged with leaving an accident scene with property damage and fleeing/eluding law enforcement at a high rate of speed.