CRESTVIEW — A Niceville man on felony probation for fleeing and eluding and multiple drivers’ license suspensions led an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy on a high-speed chase through a hay field early this morning.
The deputy spotted a blue Ford Focus traveling 80 miles an hour in a 55-mph speed zone around 2:30 a.m. on State Road 85 near Auburn Road north of Crestview.
The car accelerated and then headed east on Bradley Road and into a hay field with two OCSO deputies in pursuit. The driver smashed through hay bales, went down a power line trail, and at times became airborne due to the high speeds.
When the car became disabled, the driver, later identified as 33-year-old James Jenkins, got out holding a large beer can and began to run toward the wood line, according to an OCSO media release. Once he reached the wooded area he dropped the can and ran head first into a tree, receiving a minor cut over his right eye.
The deputies had to wrestle Jenkins to take him into custody; they then returned to Jenkins’ car, according to the release.
A passenger inside said he told Jenkins to stop multiple times but Jenkins refused, so he was “along for the ride,” the release stated.
The deputy spotted a child strapped in a car seat in the back seat. The boy told the deputies he had been holding on to his car seat with all his might during the incident.
The child and passenger were not injured.
Jenkins is charged with fleeing and eluding with disregard for the safety of others, driving with license suspended as habitual offender, child neglect, resisting arrest without violence, and felony probation violation.
He was also issued a traffic citation for the open container of beer.