Tennessee man steals U-Haul, leads police on multi-county, high-speed chase
WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -A 50-mile pursuit involving several agencies has landed a Tennesse man behind bars.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office said Joshua Cornelius, 40, of Lebanon, Tennessee led deputies in a pursuit while driving a stolen U-Haul that ended in Holmes County.
WSCO said that Cornelius was arrested by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia after being stopped, and he was given a signature bond and released Thursday morning.
WCSO reports that just after 9 p.m. on Thursday, Cornelius kicked in a door at a business off of Moll Drive in Santa Rosa Beach and stole a U-Haul.
Deputies said that Cornelius was spotted by security in Watersound hours later.
Deputies report that they attempted a traffic stop on the U-Haul on Highway 98 in Inlet Beach, however they say the man refused to obey commands and fled.
Multiple spike strips were set along the route starting on Highway 98 and continuing north on 331 S to Highway 90 in DeFuniak Springs, it ended in Ponce De Leon off Highway 81.
Deputies said that Cornelius was tracked by members of the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Walton Correctional K-9 Team, and the Florida Highway Patrol after he ditched the vehicle in the woods.
Cornelius was arrested and taken to the Holmes County Jail.
WCSO said that at the time he was arrested he was wearing an ankle monitor from a bondman out of Tennessee.
Investigators report that his motorcycle was stashed in the back of the U-Haul where he was arrested in Okaloosa County Wednesday Night. They also said the bike has been identified as the same bike used in the theft of the U-Haul in Santa Rosa Beach.
WCSO said Cornelius is also suspected of multiple burglaries on December 5th in Walton County, including one in the Watersound community involving theft of construction materials.
The sheriff’s office said multiple charges are pending which include grand theft, burglary, fleeing and eluding, and grand theft auto.
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