High-speed chase begun in Mossy Head ends with crash in Fort Walton Beach
FORT WALTON BEACH — A carjacking and vehicle theft in Mossy Head turned into a long-distance high-speed chase that resulted in several vehicles being damaged and ended in Fort Walton Beach with a man and a woman in custody, according to law enforcement agencies in Okaloosa and Walton counties.
The individuals, identified as 18-year-old Elijah Jones of Fort Walton Beach and 23-year-old Megan Frazier of Niceville, allegedly rammed and carjacked a vehicle off State Road 285 in Mossy Head early Wednesday, according to Walton County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Corey Dobridnia.
The WCSO alleges the pair was already driving a stolen gray Kia when they crashed into the victim’s Chevy Cruz about 6:15 a.m. After the crash, a passerby attempted to intervene and Jones brandished a gun, pulled the victim from the vehicle and left the scene.
The pair then drove to the area of Girl Scout Road and abandoned the sedan in a wooded area. Shortly afterward, a resident off Tiger Lily Lane called the Sheriff's Office dispatch center to report a Chevy Colorado with a U-Haul attached had been stolen.
"Our deputies spotted them on U.S. Highway 90 after a call about a stolen truck," Dobridnia said. "They fled south on SR 285 and into Okaloosa, where OCSO picked up the pursuit."
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DeFuniak Springs resident Alicia Noble was traveling south on SR 285 when the pursuit caught up to her.
"I was about to come into Niceville with my 4-month-old in the back seat," Noble said. "I saw police lights on my rearview mirror but had plenty of time to get over because they looked far away. Before I knew it, there was a truck coming at me from behind going at least 100 mph. It narrowly passed me, almost hitting me, with the deputies following behind."
Noble said the truck and attached U-Haul almost hit cars in front of her as it swerved to avoid them and also just missed several cars coming toward it in the opposite lane.
"I saw the U-Haul trailer it was pulling swaying all over the place," Noble said. "Several sheriff's deputies in marked and unmarked vehicles passed by. ... I had to stop to cool off because I was a nervous wreck."
The truck with the trailer traveled east on State Road 20 as it entered Niceville and crossed into Destin on the Mid-Bay Bridge.
"We had several reports of him crossing the Mid-Bay Bridge in the wrong lane," said Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Michele Nicholson. "It's just amazing he didn't kill someone."
The driver of the stolen truck turned west coming off the bridge and sped through Destin on U.S. Highway 98, Nicholson said. Deputies laid out spike strips in Destin but the vehicle still managed to make it across the Marler and Brooks bridges and all the way to the intersection of U.S. 98 and Beal Parkway in Fort Walton Beach before it crashed.
Deputies allege Jones hit five vehicles at different times during a pursuit. Additionally, two individuals and an OCSO deputy were injured when the suspect caused an unavoidable collision on U.S. 98 near Destin's Marler Bridge. The civilians were taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center for treatment and a deputy went to a medical clinic.
While fleeing across Okaloosa Island, Jones allegedly opened the driver's door and threw out a handgun, which was recovered. A second firearm was found inside the truck, according to the OCSO. Both Jones and Frazier tried to run from the crash site but were taken into custody.
Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden praised the teamwork displayed by the Walton County Sheriff's Office, Florida Highway Patrol, Fort Walton Beach
Police Department and OCSO deputies, and added "Those involved or injured are in our prayers for healing from this event."
The OCSO has charged Jones with fleeing and eluding with disregard to the safety of persons or property; displaying a weapon during the commission of a felony; tampering with evidence; resisting an officer; driving without a valid license; and five counts of hit-and-run.
Frazier is charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, possession of heroin and resisting an officer.
Separately, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office will charge both Jones and Frazier with one count each of carjacking and grand theft auto.
Jones will also be charged with aggravated assault with a firearm for pointing a gun at the victim, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for ramming the Chevy Cruze and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Additional charges related to additional crimes in Walton County are pending.