The edited video from the Florida Highway Patrol aircraft shows the black SUV speeding north through downtown Bunnell Monday afternoon, first in the correct lanes, then against southbound traffic, threading between vehicles on either lanes, before the SUV jumps the median again back to the northbound lanes, speeding at 90 to 100 mph. It had been avoiding stop sticks.
The man at the wheel was alleged to be Franklin Crawley, 37, of 34 Woodhollow Lane in Palm Coast. Crawley has a long arrest record, much of it for drug charges until an attempted burglary felony charge two years ago, pleaded down to a misdemeanor. Last year he was charged with two felonies, including grand theft auto. That was pleaded down to a failure to return a rental car, and adjudication was withheld–keeping Crawley for at least the third time from being branded a felon.
His latest charges may be more difficult to plead down from the felony charges he accumulated on Monday as he allegedly drove that car, which had been reported stolen by Crawley’s grandmother: Grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding, burglary, and two misdemeanors. With him in the car was Christian Grasso, 37, who has a longer arrest record and is a convicted felon, most recently on a second degree felony charge of selling a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was released in July. Grasso faces a burglary charge and resisting an officer.After speeding on U.S. 1, the pair ended up on County Road 13, then Sawgrass Road by the county fairgrounds and back onto 13, where Crawley weaved around deputies’ patrol vehicles several times before going back onto U.S. 1. Stop sticks damaged the tires at that point, and soon after that the vehicle, trying to negotiate a right turn onto Whiteview Parkway, ended up in the parkway’s median.
Both the FHP aircraft and Fire Flight, Flagler County’s emergency helicopter, were on the hunt at that point. The occupants bailed and ran a short distance, Crawley hiding in the garage of a house, Grasso climbing into a trailer that had been parked in front of the house. FHP and Fire Flight directed deputies to the house. The video shows them converging quickly on the property, hands on their weapons, before the video switches to the body cam of one of the deputies, who had his weapon drawn as he approached the garage.“Get out here,” the deputy yells at Crawley before ordering him to get on the ground. He’d been drinking a Coke he’d taken from a fridge in the garage. Grasso is ushered out of the trailer. Crawley complains of being manhandled as he is handcuffed and taken to a patrol car. The vehicle they’d been driving was recovered and towed to Saxon’s, the tow company in Bunnell, as it had been damaged. Grasso’s bond was set at $3,000, Crawley’s at $13,250.
“I am thankful that our deputies were able to quickly apprehend these two and that no one was injured by their reckless actions,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This is a guy who has no regard for the safety of others. I hope he enjoyed that soda because we only serve water at the Green Roof Inn,” the sheriff’s preferred description of the county jail. “This is also a good reminder to always keep your garage doors closed even when you are home.”