Charlotte Mae Johnson, 24, faces a list of charges including aggravated assault on police, escape, drunk driving with property damage and drug possession following an early-morning incident Friday that started at a Palm Coast convenience store, culminated in a crash on I-95 that closed the northbound lanes of the Interstate, and ended with an attempted escape at Florida Hospital Flagler.
At about 3:45 Friday a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy was at the Shell gas station on State Road 100, taking statements regarding an unrelated arrest. While doing his work by the counter near the cash register he saw Johnson walk up behind him. He turned to offer a greeting and noticed a welt on her forehead. He asked about it. She said she’d fallen at the pool. Johnson, according to the cop, was unsteady on her feet, she slurred her words and her eyes were not fully opened. She finished her transaction and walked out. The deputy kept an eye on her to make sure she would not take the wheel of a car.
But she did. She prepared to take the controls of a Toyota Rav 4. The deputy rushed out and yelled at Johnson to stop. She looked at him but continued to get in the van’s seat. The deputy raised his hand, yelling again, then positioning himself in front of the Toyota. Johnson, according to the report, ignored him, started the car, slowly inched forward, then accelerated, forcing the cop to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit.
She then drove off going east on State Road 100. The cop was able to see her drive onto the I-95 access ramp going north, but lost contact.
Not for long: a short time later, a severe crash was reported on I-95, near Palm Coast Parkway—so severe that it required the closure of all three northbound lanes.
It was Johnson and her Toyota. She had one passenger: Jamie Smith, 24. The Toyota had struck the guard rail, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report, causing significant damage to the front and passenger side of the vehicle, gouging the roadway and damaging the guardrail. The Palm Coast Fire Police had to divert all northbound traffic to Palm Coast Parkway.
Before Johnson and Smith were taken to Florida Hospital Flagler, Johnson handed her pocketbook to a deputy who’d asked for her identification. Inside, the deputy found an oxycodone pill. Smith meanwhile was lethargic and appeared not to know where her identification was. A bag of marijuana was found in the car. Smith said she was frequently tested for drugs, so she doesn’t do any, claiming the bag may have been Johnson’s.
Johnson told deputies she did not remember much about the scene at the gas station, though she remembered seeing a cop waving at her there after going inside to use the restroom, and that Smith had probably pumped gas while she was using the facilities. (She had not: Smith was asleep in the front seat.) She told cops that she drove off because she thought she’d done nothing wrong. She was driving a rental car. She said she’d been at a friend’s house that evening in Daytona, and was returning to Holly Hill—even though she had been heading north on I-95 at the time of the crash.
Johnson was placed under arrest at the hospital and handcuffed to the hospital bed, where she was receiving treatment. But at one point she slipped out of the handcuffs and ran. The door she attempted to open does so only with a certain ID card, so as she ran, the arrest report states, she slammed into the door, bloodying her nose, as was apparent from her mug shot at the jail later.
“When Charlotte was notified of all her charges she [said] that it did not matter and she would be killing herself anyway,” the arrest report states. A Baker Act form was also completed, but she was transported to the Flagler county jail, and booked there, but not before a Florida Highway Patrol trooper had her go through field sobriety exercises, which at first she’d refused. She failed several parts of the exercise. She refused to take a breath test, which law enforcement officers are entitled to require without a warrant.
Her DUI charges include counts for damage to property (the rental car) and person (Smith). Johnson, a resident of 2050 South Ridgewood Avenue in South Daytona, was booked at 6:27 a.m. Friday on seven charges and held on $14,500 bond, which she posted.