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One Fugitive Arrested After All-Night Hunt in B-Section, Other Man Still On the Run Following Wreck on I-95

| February 5, 2016

escaped convicts

Deputies were searching for two men believed to be escaped convicts in the area of Birchwood Drive and Bighorn Drive in Palm Coast’s B-Section.

Last Updated: Saturday, 8:01 p.m.

Saturday Update, 7:03 a.m.–At 6:51 this morning, the sheriff’s office announced that one of the two fugitives it had hunted for almost 12 hours was in custody.


The sheriff’s office issued the following statement: “After an all-night search using helicopters and K-9 officers, Flagler County sheriff’s deputies located a Virginia fugitive early this morning and took him into custody without incident. James Kent Booth, 54, of Montpelier, Va., was found hiding in a shed at a home on Big Horn Drive in Palm Coast. An off-duty deputy located him and held him at gunpoint until other deputies arrived, just before 5 a.m. Booth was taken into custody without incident. He is being interviewed by detectives and is cooperating.

Later in the day, Booth was charged with burglary of a conveyance and resisting arrest without violence.

“I’m very proud of the work these deputies did overnight to find this fugitive,” Sheriff Jim Manfre said. “They worked long hours to protect our community in this situation and are to be commended.”

The second male crash victim, identified only as “Mike,’’ is still on the run.

The earlier account is below.

Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies aided by Flagler County Fire Flight were hunting two men believed to be escaped convicts following a single-car crash on I-95 just north of Palm Coast Parkway this evening at 6:12 p.m. The search was still ongoing late into the night, with each passing hour diminishing chances of locating the individuals.

The alleged convicts are believed to have escaped from a work-release program in Henrico County, Virginia. One of the men is believed to be James Kent Booth, 55, who, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections’ absconders website, “is wanted for leaving his assigned place of employment without permission.” Booth removed his GPS tracker. Henrico County wraps around the northeastern contours of Richmond. He was last seen in Mountpelier, Va.

The only thing known about the other man is that his name is Mike.

james kent booth escaped convict

James Kent Booth.

The wreck took place at mile marker 291, two miles north of Palm Coast Parkway, in the southbound lanes, when a vehicle–believed to be a Saturn–rocketed off the guardrail. The Saturn was occupied by three individuals–two men and a woman. The woman was believed to have initially stayed at the scene and to be tended by Flagler County Fire Rescue and Palm Coast Fire Department firefighter-paramedics.

That may not have been the case. A sheriff’s spokesman said she ran from the scene as well, and later sought assistance from a homeowner in the B Section. The woman is believed to be Deborah Diane Sparks.

The two men ran from the scene–the Florida Highway Patrol lists the wreck as a hit-and-run–and were seen heading into the B Section, which parallels I-95 in that area. At least one of the men was last seen at Biltwell Place, a small street off of Birchwood Drive.

“We are now actively searching for what I believed to be one person, maybe two, we believe that person to be an escapee from a prison system in Virginia,” the sheriff’s office’s Jim Troiano said at 7:30 p.m. He said the man is wanted on a misdemeanor warrant. “We’re contemplating putting out a Code Red to the area along the interstate. We don’t believe the person is armed, we have no reason to believe that.” But there is no certainty whether he is or not armed, Troiano added.

A second crime may have taken place.

“There’s an allegation that an abduction took place. I don’t know how accurate that allegation is, it’s coming from one of the people in the car,” Troiano said.

The woman reportedly told authorities that she was driving in Virginia when she picked up two men she thought were day workers. She claims they ended up kidnapping her and driving to Florida.

A Code Red alert was in fact issued to the affected B-Section neighborhood at 7:41 p.m. But it can take several minutes for the calls to roll out to all intended numbers.

The search had begun with Flagler County Fire Flight, but Fire Flight had to return to its base at the Flagler County Airport because of a mechanical issue. It stayed in the air until it was replaced by Volusia County’s Air One.

By 9:45 p.m., the search had shifted to the Indian Trails neighborhood, though at around the same time someone matching the description of the suspect was spotted at Pine Lakes apartments, on the north side of Belle Terre Parkway. A perimeter was established at Burnell Drive and Burnell Place.

Through all this, the sheriff’s computer-assisted dispatching, on which deputies rely to keep up with each other’s whereabouts and maneuvers through their patrol-car computer, has operated fitfully, going down entirely at times, as it had in the previous 48 hours.

Through 10:30 p.m., residents were reporting to authorities movement or sounds in their yards, but no solid sightings. At near 10:45 p.m., a resident reported what sounded like two gunshots.

By Saturday morning, it was confirmed that Booth was one of the men being sought. He was found in a shed by an off-duty officer.

Booth was arrested last May in Virginia, allegedly for manufacturing methamphetamine, though he claimed he’d merely been a user, not a manufacturer. “I can’t catch a break anywhere, can’t get a job with this stuff on my record,” he told WTVR from jail in an interview at the time. “I try to get away and it pulls me right back. A vicious cycle? Yes! I don’t want to go back but feel I’m forced to.”

See the interview below.

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33 Responses for “One Fugitive Arrested After All-Night Hunt in B-Section, Other Man Still On the Run Following Wreck on I-95”

  1. anonymous says:

    It’s actually mile marker 291.

  2. jess says:

    Have they been found? ?

  3. nancy cooper says:

    can we please get an update????

  4. nancy cooper says:

    we need another update

  5. Brian says:

    The Code Red is issued to alert the criminals that the Sheriff’s helicopter has broken down, and the patrol car’s computers are not functioning, and now is your chance to make a clean get-away. Sheeesh…..

  6. Joe says:

    What does the other guy look like, a pic would help with the apprehension!

  7. Heading North says:

    Well done FCSO! And kudos to the alert off duty deputy!!

  8. sunshine says:

    How about giving us a photo of the one still on the run, so we can be on the lookout for him? A composite sketch from the woman, or something??

  9. confidential says:

    Thank you to Sheriff Manfre and our deputies!

  10. Anonymous says:

    You give that liytle man too much credit. Manfre has nothing to do with it. He was probably sitting home in his nice little gated community all night. Kudos to the LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS that were working all night searching for these scumbags and the alert off duty Deputy!

  11. Anonymous says:

    This was a joke…helicopter buzzing around all night, police communication systems don’t work, no updates given to those of us that live in the neighborhood, etc etc. Still haven’t found one of the fugitives and the other was found in a SHED the next morning right in the area where the cops were supposedly looking. It’s a good thing these people were not hardened criminals because this could have been much worse. All this shows was a lack of preparadness, organization and execution.

  12. Rita May says:

    Hi fives to the Flagler County Sheriff and his brave deputies…great job!!

  13. Geezer says:

    James Booth discovered the hard way that moving to Palm Coast is a mistake.

  14. Gkimp says:

    Walked my dog 42 times during the night hoping to run into one of these boys, good job deputies.

  15. Jim says:

    Anonymous if you know so darnn much and think you are a expert in law enforcement why don’t you run for sherriff? This county is blessed to have such capable law enforcement officers everywhere except the city of bunnell.

  16. Susan Pelger says:

    I live in the B section & I did NOT receive a phone call about this incident. It upsets me greatly that as a community we have no warning system in place for sever weather or when a physical danger is present in our neighborhood. I have a cell phone & a land line registered. We need to get this fixed BEFORE something tragic happens!!

  17. Trigger Happy says:

    @Gkimp: Why so you can shoot a kid armed with skittles?

  18. Anonymous says:

    @ Confidential,

    Sorry but It is thanks to the deputies….the REAL law enforcement officers who actually put themselves in harms way. Thank you.

  19. No Comment says:

    Great Job! but it took them 11 hours to find him, when we told police they ran through the reserve behind my house at 6:15, Knocked on a neighbors around the corner at door at 6:30 . This is where the woman got picked up and this guy was picked up on the block, in a shed on the other side of the reserve.. We were told that there was a K( unit on that block at 6:45pm. I understand it was dark but wouldn’t a shed be a common place to look. No police activity today.. Yet there is still one out there.

  20. I/M/O says:

    I live on the block. What a fantastic job Sheriff Jim Manfre and his Officers did last night protecting us.

    Every homeowner was warned to be cautious.

    They had their perimeter set up with marked police cars. They had their helicopter continuously circling overhead.

    Today we learn that off duty Officers came to assist in the search and one of them captured the fugitive.

    They knew they had the fugitive trapped on the block and he wasn’t going anywhere. Now he is in custody.

    Our gratitude to Sheriff Jim Manfre and his Officers. Outstanding job! May God Bless these Officers.

  21. I/M/O says:

    Susan Pelger….maybe you missed the call. All my neighbors received a telephone alert from the Sheriff’s Office. All of them.

  22. another fcso let down says:

    Fcso really needs to get there whole self and systems together, you are really letting down a community.

  23. Jan says:

    I received no phone call.. I actually went up to a policeman who was on the corner and asked him what was going on. He said its on tv. (Not). Gave me no information at all. Not even a warning to stay indoors and keep door locked. Very upsetting considering I live alone and have a shed in my backyard. Badly handled.

  24. turtle says:

    For those that did not receive a phone call, you have to sign up for the code red alert system to get them. Most people have cell phones and the county does not have a record of the address associated with every cell phone number. Signing up is very simple and you can select which alerts you want to get. Here is the link to sign up:

    https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/7B3E2CD592C0

  25. Ray Thorne says:

    @ I/M/O,

    You may not realize it but your comment is a slap in the face to the deputies that were working that incident. Was Manfre there at all? I don’t think so and I can probably safely assume that when the fugitive was caught this morning that he was snuggled safely asleep in his bed while real cops were out doing the job. Great Job Deputies. Some of us know what time it is.

  26. Dawn Arrington says:

    I would like to know if the 2nd guy is in custody. I live in the B section. To anyone criticizing the fcso, they got one of these guys, so how about saying thank you? They did their best with the resources available. Perhaps Flagler County needs to dedicate more funds to the fcso. That is not their fault.

    Please keep us updated though. We really should be getting regular progress reports. Thanks again!

  27. Just Saying says:

    Susan perhaps you don’t live in the immediate vicinity of where the incident took place. I doubt they alerted the whole B section by phone to be on the look out when only the northeast section was affected. They set up a perimeter of likely distance traveled, they seemed rather prepared to me. The suspect wasn’t able to leave the block and they weren’t sure if he was armed. As for a picture of the other person, I know 15 people named Mike how about you?

  28. V-MAN says:

    So where is the second fugitive? Who is going to pay for all these expenses such as helicopters flying around and all the man-hour? Are we going to bill the Commonwealth of Virginia? I think it’s ridiculous we keep hearing about the second fugitive named “Mike” but there are no photos or sketches!

  29. V-MAN says:

    So where is the second fugitive? Who is going to pay for all these expenses such as helicopters flying around and all the man-hour? Are we going to bill the Commonwealth of Virginia? I think it’s ridiculous we keep hearing about the second fugitive named “Mike” but there are no photos or sketches!

    Lots of questions and no answers …

  30. Anonymous says:

    people watch to much TV to think every situation will be over in one hour and all gos according to some script nice and easy.

  31. Rock hard says:

    Who’s the deputy that caught this man? He and/or they need commended..

  32. cm says:

    if you live in the B section phone call did go out so I would see why your number isn’t registered.

  33. mel guillory says:

    You will be getting a tax hike soon, a $1,000,000.00 radio upgrade forFCSO!

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