Last Updated: 6:51 p.m.
Update: The man who fled from a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop this morning, causing a lockdown at nearby Old Kings Elementary and a day care center, turned himself in to the sheriff’s office in Bunnell just before 5:30 p.m.
The man was identified as Ronnie Ray Smith, 32. He has no court record locally, but has a warrant for his arrest from Georgia, “for a non-extraditbale offense,” the sheriff’s office stated. That means the deputy could not have legally arrested Smith for that warrant, considered by Georgia not worth the expense of pursuing through extradition. That suggests the alleged offense triggering the warrant was not overly serious.
But Smith may faces a serious charge now.
He was a passenger in the vehicle. “While the deputy was checking for information about Smith, he kept an eye on the man. That’s when Smith exited the vehicle and ran southbound toward S.R. 100,” a sheriff’s release issued late this afternoon states. (It’s not clear why Smith, as a passenger, would have been subject to questions.)
“The deputy chased Smith on foot and was able to catch him, but they both fell to the ground and the deputy hit his knee on pavement. The deputy was unable to catch Smith who ran across S.R. 100 and into a wooded area across from SunTrust Bank. Responding units set up a perimeter and initiated a precautionary lock-down at Old Kings Elementary School and Sunshine Academy, both on Old Kings Road, at 9:30 a.m.”
“It’s fortunate that this man turned himself in because we were coming to get him,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in the release. In an interview earlier, he had said the man’s identity had been in deputies’ hands and it was a matter of time before he was found.
John Fischer, the former school board member, was at an awards ceremony at Old Kings Elementary this morning when the lock-down was declared. He said school staff and the police reacted “very efficiently” as students were led back to their classrooms.
This morning’s story is below.
Sheriff’s Deputies Searching for Man Who Fled Deputy at Traffic Stop
Flagler County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man who fled from a deputy after a traffic stop at 9:13 this morning near the intersection of Old Kings Road and State Road 100. The search triggered brief lock-downs at Old Kings Elementary and a nearby day care center.
The traffic stop was carried out near Coconuts Car Wash.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, on the way to the scene as the incident was developing this morning, said that the deputy was “attacked” at the traffic stop. “I was given misinformation,”
Staly said before noon. “My motorman was not attacked.” The individual in question was wanted on a warrant and fled the scene of the traffic stop. There was no altercation with the deputy, who was on a motorcycle.
It was later clarified that the deputy had chased the man, both had fallen, and the deputy had injured a knee on the pavement.
Bob Weber, a sheriff’s spokesman, had described the incident as an “altercation” involving a deputy and individuals in the vehicle pulled over. “There must’ve been multiple people in the car, one of the subjects ended up grabbing the deputy by the leg, at that point the subject took off in the woods,” Weber said.
A perimeter was set up, a K-9 unit was summoned, and Fire Flight, the county’s emergency helicopter, went airborne over the area, where it remained around 10:30 a.m.
Old Kings Elementary school was on a brief total lock-down, then on partial lock-down–meaning that, under the “code yellow” status, students can move around between classes, but may not go outdoors or have physical education activities. A day care center in the area is under a similar lock-down.
“Before the yellow status out of an abundance of caution the sheriff’s office came on campus and said please keep everybody in place,” Jason Wheeler, the school district’s spokesman, said. “Once we determined that the threat was going away from the campus, we went on yellow status.”
Yellow status was still in effect as of 10:38 a.m.
At 10:15, however, the K-9 unit sent word that the suspect was believed to have gone beyond the perimeter. So the perimeter was broken down. But the search continues, Weber said.
No weapons were involved in the incident, according to early indications, and the deputy was not injured.
“Three names are associated with the call but I don’t know what their involvement was,” Weber said of the individuals who may have been in the vehicle–or who may have been witnesses to the incident.
Around noon the man was still at large, but Staly said: “I think we have him identified and if we didn’t get him during the perimeter, we will, it’s only a matter of time.”
Weber described the man as in his 30s, with tattoos, short red hair, about 6 foot tall, 200 pounds or so, and white.
[This is a developing story.]
So was the deputy wearing a body camera ?
Andrew Wheeler says
All of the officers have a body cam they either have it as sunglasses or on their body and they have dash cams.
Hes on the run from being on the run. Have fun while you can cuz you will be caught. Just hold the others til they tell you where hes at.
My bet is that many in this town may already know who this perp might be.
Staly I guess is scaring these thugs- what ever it takes to lockem up.Staly and the boy’s are doing a great job.I see John Fisher is staying busy.
I didn’t vote for Staly but I wilfully admit he’s doing a fine job so far.
My friend started freaking out when we went into lockdown so I’m just holding a huge book ready to knock the guy out if he comes into our class and I walked up to a group of girls crying and I said “Don’t worry I’ll knock the guy out if he tries to get us then we can make a run for it.”then just started laughing and said “Thanks.”