A 19-year-old man from Ocala, Florida, is facing charges of child abuse and kidnapping after embarking on a high-speed police chase with minors inside his vehicle July 13.
The incident occurred around 1 a.m. when a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed a car with noticeably fresh damage traveling on the wrong side of Jacksonville Road, per the arrest report.
WATCH: Florida Man Kidnaps 6 Minors Who Attempt To Jump From SUV During Police Chase https://t.co/zv6orntdpQ
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Immediately upon being confronted by police, the driver, identified as Jeremiah Lewis, reportedly executed a swift U-turn and accelerated from the scene, according to WCJB. The maneuver prompted a high-speed pursuit which was quickly terminated due to Lewis’ allegely reckless driving, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Man Allegedly Kidnaps Ex-Girlfriend From Wingstop, Gets In Standoff With Police, Kills Her, Authorities Say)
Another deputy later witnessed Lewis’ dangerous driving near Northeast 25th Avenue and resumed the pursuit. Throughout the chase, Lewis reportedly reached speeds exceeding 90 mph, driving against traffic and eventually colliding with a light pole and stop sign, according to authorities.
During the pursuit, deputies observed the rear door of Lewis’ vehicle open several times, per WCJB. After employing a tactical pit maneuver, police managed to halt the vehicle safely, the outlet reported.
Lewis attempted to escape on foot but was quickly apprehended, per WCJB.
Within the vehicle, authorities discovered a group of six juvenile passengers; one 12-year-old, four 14-year-olds and a 16-year-old, the outlet noted. The children told deputies they had tried to escape several times during the chase, but Lewis had forcibly prevented them from leaving, per WCJB.
Lewis is facing six counts of kidnapping, six counts of child abuse, four counts of interfering with the custody of a minor and two counts of fleeing, leaving the scene of a crash, hit and run and resisting an officer, per WCJB.