For Flagler Cop Sam Bell, Stopping
Bad Guys Didn’t End With Desk Duty
FlaglerLive | February 7, 2015
Not even the Move-Over law would have helped Sam Bell.
Just after midnight that April morning on Pine Lakes Parkway in Palm Coast, Elizabeth Wiley, then a 51-year-old resident of Cherry Court in Bunnell, was driving toward him, drunk. Bell, a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy, had pulled over another car and was conducting that traffic stop.
“I was waiting for the vehicle to slow down as it approached me,” Bell, who’d been with the agency less than three years at the time, wrote in his report back then. “As the vehicle approached, I observed that it was not slowing down and that the truck was not moving to go around me. Because I had just exited my vehicle my door was still open I took two steps toward the approaching vehicle waving my flash light on the ground in front of the truck to get the truck to move over or slow down.”
Bell estimated the oncoming truck was going 45. “The truck continued to drive directly at me. I did not want to move out further into the road because I was afraid the truck would swerve into the south bound lane the last second and hit me. When I realized the truck was not going to move over or slowdown and that if I waited any longer the truck would hit me, I jumped as fast and far as I could into the south bound lane as the tuck drove past were I had just been standing. I heard a loud noise as the truck impacted my car door and continued to drive on. I felt a sharp pain in my knee as I went back to my patrol car.”That pain didn’t stop him from finishing his work that morning, including Wiley’s arrest on a drunk driving charge, after a brief pursuit. (The following year Wiley pleaded guilty to reckless driving, paid fines and was on 12 months’ probation.) But the left knee would prove problematic. He had difficulty walking that morning.
It got worse. Bell has since had three surgeries to the knee.
He was placed on “light duty” and assigned the front desk at the Sheriff’s Operations Center in Bunnell. “Typically,” he said in a release the Sheriff’s Office issued Friday, “I answer phone calls and assist with walk-ins. I am grateful and appreciative that I can continue to serve the public.”
As it’s turned out, his desk duty goes beyond phone, desk and walk-ins. On two occasions in the last three weeks, Bell’s alertness led to the arrest of two individuals who had either outstanding warrants or were violating their probation.
On Jan. 21, Shawn Stone, a 24-year-old resident of Ormond Beach who’s had five arrests in Flagler County since 2009, was retrieving a vehicle from the impound yard when Bell encountered him and thought he recalled Stone having an active warrant. He had five such warrants from Volusia County—for burglary, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and two counts of armed burglary with a firearm. Stone was arrested and jailed on $45,000 bond, which he posted.
On Feb. 4, Bell Recognized Rodney Hill, a 37-year-old Palm Coast resident who’s also been jailed five times in the same span of time as Stone’s. Bell recalled that Hill was on probation, and was not allowed to leave his house without permission. He’d gone to the sheriff’s office to inquire about his vehicle. Stone made a discreet call to Hill’s probation officer, who confirmed that Hill was violating his probation. He was soon jailed.
“Deputy Bell has proven to be a law enforcement officer with great integrity,” said Sheriff Jim Manfre. “His actions and quick thinking resulted in two arrests being made right on our front steps.”