|Chase speeds through Levy, ends in Dixie|
By Jeff M. Hardison
CROSS CITY - Deputies from Marion, Levy and Dixie counties chased a 22-year-old Citra man who was stopped only after a head-on collision with a semi tractor-trailer just after 2 a.m. on June 29, according to records.
Darius J. James of Citra suffered minor injuries, according to Dixie County Sheriff's Capt. Chad Reed and Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Martin.
The semi driver was not hurt. James was taken into custody and transported to North Florida Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and released to the custody of the Dixie County Sheriff's Office.
The DCSO charged him with one count of aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer (LEO), one count of aggravated battery on an LEO with a motor vehicle and one count of aggravated battery on an LEO, Reed said.
The Levy County Sheriff's Office charged James with three counts of aggravated battery on an LEO with a motor vehicle and one county of felony fleeing and attempting to elude an LEO, according to LCSO spokesman Lt. Evan Sullivan.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office charged James with grand theft and home invasion/robbery, according to MCSO Public Information Officer Sue Livoti.
James is being held in the Dixie County Jail with no bail, because he has holds placed on him from Levy and Marion counties.
James's interactions with civilians and police, which ended with his arrest on June 29, began shortly after his mother Vivian Jackson reported him missing from the Flemington area to the Marion County Sheriff's Office on June 28 at about 10 a.m., Livoti said. Jackson told the MCSO that he had been acting strangely, not sleeping and was hallucinating, Livoti said.
MCSO deputies started searching for James with dogs and an air unit, Livoti said. At about 1:30 a.m. on June 29, a victim heard glass shatter at his home in Micanopy. The victim barricaded himself and another person who lives there in the bedroom, the MCSO spokesperson said.
âThey're trying to kill me,â James reportedly yelled to the victims, Livoti said. âGive me your keys and I won't hurt you.â
The keys to a 2006 Pontiac Vibe were slid under the door, she said.
LCSO Deputy Kevin Kinik clocked the Vibe at 82 m.p.h. northbound on U.S. Alt. 27 in Levy County soon after MCSO dispatch had issued a âbe on the lookoutâ notice for the stolen vehicle over the radio. The speed limit there is 65 m.p.h., Sullivan said. Kinik turned on his overhead lights and attempted to stop James, Sullivan said.
The Vibe sped up, he added. During the trip through three counties, James reached a speed of 110 m.p.h., Sullivan said
LCSO Deputy Ella Roberts was ahead of the pursuit. James rammed into the rear of Roberts' cruiser twice and then hit the driver side of the car with the Vibe when Roberts moved over to let James pass, Trooper Martin said in his report. Deputies then backed off a bit, Sullivan said.
LCSO Deputy David Rodriguez placed stop sticks on Alt. 27 near Levyville, and he took out three of the Vibe's tires, Sullivan said.
James kept going. The Chiefland Police Department joined in pursuit, Sullivan said.
James went through Chiefland on U.S. Highway 19 and traveled north on three flat tires into Dixie County, Sullivan said. While going north, James went into the southbound lane, DCSO Capt. Reed said. A DCSO unit driven by Duane Sullivan was traveling in front of the Vibe in an attempt to move oncoming traffic out of James' path. The Vibe hit the semi at about 60 m.p.h., Reed said, after hitting the Dixie cruiser in the rear.
After the crash, which occurred near Eugene - between Old Town and Cross City - James got out of the vehicle and was combative with officers. A Chiefland officer shot him with a Taser, CPD Chief Robert Douglas said. James took the barbs came out, he again began fighting, and kicked LCSO Deputy Rodriguez in the face. He was sprayed with pepper spray and shot with a Taser again, and finally he was physically restrained and arrested, LCSO Lt. Evan Sullivan said.