A police matter that took place outside the campus of Rymfire Elementary–but did not endanger anyone inside–required the school to declare a “Code Orange,” or a less strict variant of a lockdown, just after 1 p.m. today. The Code Orange was lifted after 2:30 p.m. and the incident was not expected to affect the school’s bus schedule or student release time at 3:15 p.m., a district spokesman said.
The police matter involved an alleged car theft, with three suspects. They were speeding in the neighborhood of the school–there was no vehicle chase, Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s chief spokesman, said–when the driver of the vehicle lost control and crashed into a swale. The exact location of the crash is not known at the moment, but it was between U.S. 1 and Rickenbacker Drive.
Two of the suspects were immediately apprehended in the car. The third was apprehended not far off. All three are in custody. No one was hurt. “Most likely it’ll be grand theft for somebody,” Troiano said. “There was no danger or alarm to anybody at the school.”
The district’s Jason Wheeler said the school went on Code Orange out of an abundance of caution, as schools routinely do when a police matter unfolds nearby. Wheeler described the incident as “some sort of chase” that was “in close proximity” to the Rymfire campus.
Code Orange means that all outside activities are suspended and all students are to remain in their classrooms. It’s distinguished from a lock-down in that access in and out of the school, while restricted, is not suspended. Rymfire kept one access point open, enabling staffers or parents in and out for emergencies.
Wheeler placed the time of the Code Orange at 1:45 p.m., ending less than an hour later.
At 4:26 p.m., Zacchaeus Nelson, a 22-year-old resident of North 22nd Street in Palatka, was booked at the Flagler County jail on a grand theft auto charge and a minor marijuana possession charge.