NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — Five people were taken to the hospital after a police chase ended in a violent crash on Wednesday.
The incident took place as shoppers were out and about, holding up traffic for hours.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office said the pursuit began at Kohls department store off S.R. 200 (A1A) when four suspects accused of theft, reportedly fled from law enforcement at around 2:30 p.m.
The situation escalated when the suspects struck a deputy’s vehicle and crashed into oncoming traffic at the intersection of S.R. 200 and Santa Barbara Street.
New information was released on Thursday. Sheriff Bill Leeper released this statement explaining the details, why the vehicle pursuit was initiated during such a busy time on the roads, and who the four suspects that were arrested.
“First and foremost my heart and prayers goes out to the innocent victim that was seriously hurt by reckless criminals that have no regard for human life. Our first priority is always to protect our citizens and keep our community safe. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the details that were reported yesterday. It is not the policy of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office to initiate a vehicle pursuit just for a property crime or for retail theft due to the inherent danger to the public. Yesterday it was reported that the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office initiated a vehicle pursuit for a retail theft that resulted in a traffic crash injuring one of our citizens. Yesterday afternoon one of our deputies spotted a crime in progress at the Kohl’s Department store in Yulee and that’s when our deputy made contact with the suspects. When our deputy made contact with the suspects as they were fleeing the retail store, the suspects placed their vehicle in reverse and slammed into the front of our deputy’s patrol vehicle. Our deputy quickly exited the vehicle to try and apprehend these suspects. Our deputy attempted to make a peaceful apprehension but the suspects intentionally attempted to strike our deputy with their vehicle. Again these criminals showed a blatant disregard for human life by trying to seriously harm, or worse, kill one of our deputies on the same day that we lost Eric Oliver back in 2016. This action of aggravated assault on a LEO is a forcible felony and ultimately led the the initiation of the vehicle pursuit. The suspects put citizens in danger as they drove recklessly down State Road 200 before crossing the median and colliding with the victim’s vehicle. Again, it is very upsetting that someone else got hurt and it weighs heavy on my heart to know that this innocent bystander is in the hospital instead of being with their family this Thanksgiving because of the actions of these heartless criminals. Three of the four suspects are receiving medical treatment and will be booked when they are released. We have arrested Jacorey Devon Haney for Retail Theft and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor with other more serious charges pending. His mugshot is attached to this message. The other suspects involved in this case Antonio Williams, Brishea Glover, and Larysa Martin (all from Jacksonville with prior criminal history) are facing additional charges of “Aggravated Assault on a LEO and Aggravated Fleeing.” This is still an active investigation and more charges are pending. The Florida Highway Patrol is conducting the vehicle crash part of the investigation and we will release more information when we are able to do so. I was raised in Nassau County. My children were raised in Nassau County and now my grandchildren are being raised here and I want to continue to keep our county safe from thug criminals who break the law and cause harm to our wonderful community.”— Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper
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