"The kids were trying to get to Panama City. There are similarly named streets in DeFuniak Springs. These kids were basically lost."
CRESTVIEW — A stolen vehicle chase that began in Walton County ended with the Crestview Police Department's apprehension of two teenage suspects when they allegedly ditched the car and ran Tuesday evening in downtown Crestview.
Working in cooperation with the Walton County Sheriff's Office, Crestview Police prepared to arrest the suspects as they allegedly fled west on U.S. Highway 90, eluding WCSO deputies who tried to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle in Mossy Head. The owner reported the car had been 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," a Crestview Police Officer wrote in the suspects' arrest reports.
In case the suspects entered Crestview at a high speed, for public safety Crestview 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 US 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.
The driver, identified as Abbey Chris Bailey, 18, of Youngsville, Louisiana, allegedly crashed the car into a wooden fence behind the restaurant and ran into a nearby water retention pond, where WCSO deputies apprehended him. They remanded him to the Okaloosa County Jail.
Bailey's passenger, Jeremy Cade Pate, 17, of Lafayette, Louisiana, fled on foot to Brett Street North, where a Crestview Police Officer apprehended him. Okaloosa County EMS transported Pate to North Okaloosa Medical Center for treatment of shortness of breath sustained in the incident. Officers then remanded him to the Department of Juvenile Justice for detention.
Officers arrested both suspects and charged them with felony grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting or obstructing an officer without violence. In addition, Bailey faces charges of leaving an accident scene with property damage and fleeing/eluding law enforcement at a high rate of speed.