It took a pursuit by car, on foot, and with a K-9, who bit the suspect several times in the woods, before Johnny M. Jones surrendered to police Monday and blamed smoking weed and his paranoia for having just taken Florida Highway Patrol troopers on a two-county chase. It wasn’t his first arrest after a chase.
The chase included speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, an alleged attempt, at one point, to strike a patrol vehicle head on, and several miles during which Jones drove on the wrong side of U.S. 1 in Flagler County, endangering several other motorists and, not least, himself and his passenger, Drew Jones, who was not arrested.
Johnny Jones, a 25-year-old resident of Indian Lake Road in Daytona Beach, was charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors when it was all over, including aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, driving on a suspended or revoked license, and willful and wanton, reckless driving. He was not charged with a drug offense. In January, Jones was arrested in Volusia County on charges of driving on a revoked or suspended license and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In May, he’d been arrested for fleeing police and causing death or serious injury.
The incident began late Monday morning when a Florida Highway Patrol trooper spotted Jones driving a silver Buick with tinted windows on U.S. 1. Jones was just south of Bunnell, traveling north on U.S. 1. The trooper judged the tint too dark and caught up with the Buick just inside the city limits of Bunnell. But just as the trooper activated the patrol car’s emergency lights, Jones accelerated and went through several residential streets in an attempt, allegedly, to elude the trooper. The trooper called for back-up.
The second trooper joined the chase and informed the first that at one point Jones had almost struck him “intentionally,” head-on, according to the arrest report. Jones was soon speeding south on U.S. 1, with both troopers behind him. The Buick “maintained speeds of over 100 miles per hour,” Jones’s arrest report states, running the red light at Seminole Woods, continuing south, and eventually crossing over the median and driving south in the northbound lanes of U.S. 1, obviously and dangerously against oncoming traffic.
The troopers remained in the southbound lanes but continued the pursuit, seeing several vehicles in the northbound lanes taking evasive actions to avoid colliding with Jones’s Buick. The Buick traveled on the wrong side of the road for about 4 miles, the trooper reported, as it approached the busy intersection of U.S. 1 with I-95, when the troopers were advised by a supervisor to ease off and cease the high-speed pursuit, because of the potential risk with the increased traffic. The two troopers deactivated their emergency lights as they neared I-95.
Around that point the Buick weaved back into the southbound lanes. As it slowed somewhat, the troopers reengaged the pursuit with their emergency lights, past I-95. By then the chase had reached Volusia County and Jones veered onto side streets. The two troopers then came upon the Buick stopped in the road right after a sharp curve on North Tymber Creek Road.
The passenger, 20-year-old Drew Jones, got out of the vehicle, got on the ground with his hands behind his back, and told one of the troopers: “Handcuff me.” The second trooper had a K-9 with him –K-9 Ronnie—and let the dog loose into the woods as several unites of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene.
Johnny Jones was soon spotted in the woods, bleeding from several “punctures, abrasions and other wounds,” according to his arrest report. He was first taken to a substation in Volusia County “because although cleared by Rescue, he was vomiting.”
“I was smoking weed and I was paranoid,” Jones told a trooper while in his holding cell, after hearing his Miranda rights. “If I wasn’t high, I’d just pull over.” Jones said he knew he was going to prison. After he was medically cleared, he was transported to the Flagler County jail, where he remains today on $9,000 bond.
The tint on the Buick’s rear left window was measured at 13 percent.