Last Updated: 4:52 p.m.
A high-speed chase that went into Quail Hollow south of State Road 100 turned into an extensive search on foot and by air in Palm Coast’s Z-Section as a suspected car thief ran into the woods this afternoon just before 3 p.m.
The pursuit,which lasted an hour, led to the shut-down of portions of Belle Terre Boulevard and to the diverting of school buses from the area. The buses were on their afternoon run, dropping off students.
At 3:42 p.m., the suspect, identified as Matthew Scott Nesbitt, 44, was in custody after being secured from behind a house on Zelda Court–and after the sheriff said he threatened his deputies with a knife. It was a situation where deputies could have fired at the suspect, the sheriff said, but “showed great restraint” instead.
After his arrest Nesbitt was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler “probably for some stitches for a dog bite,” Sheriff Rick Staly, who was at the scene, said.
“I’m glad we were able to get him,” Staly said. “We hunkered him down and he couldn’t move too much in thick underbrush.” Nesbitt is expected to face several charges, including fleeing and eluding, grand theft and a charge related to his alleged knife-wielding at deputies. “He was bitten in his right leg, thigh area and his right arm,” the sheriff said.
Deputies also fired a Taser dart at him but missed.
“I don’t know his criminal history but he was known to us, he had been on our radar screen for some time,” Staly said.
The incident developed around 2:30 p.m. when the Sheriff’s Office got a report of that a vehicle that had been reported stolen had been located. The suspect had allegedly stolen a vehicle from his former place of work several days ago. As deputies begun following the car, the driver went into the Quail Hollow area then, at Zebulah Trail, jumped out and ran into the woods.
He had last been seen jumping over a fence in that area as Flagler County Fire Flight, the emergency helicopter, was brought in ti aid the search. A Code Red was sent by phone and text to residents in the area “to shelter in place, keep your door locked, that sort of thing,” the sheriff’s spokesperson said.
The school bus depot was notified of the emergency at 2:50 p.m. The issue affects just one school bus, a district spokesman said. That bus was held at Bunnell Elementary, where it would have been leaving from, until the emergency cleared. Students were then dropped off.
The stolen car was a tan GMC. There was no description of the man evading deputies, but a spokesperson said at the time “he may have a weapon, but not a firearm.” As it turned out, he had a knife.
Staly arrived at the search location around 3:10 p.m.
“They had him cornered in the woods, he kind of popped up from the brush holding a knife over his head, threatening to kill my deputies, as I understand it,” Staly said. “He was very boisterous as to what he was going to do, and making movements with the knife. The deputies showed great restraint by not shooting him.” When he tried to run again, “the K-9 took a bite out of crime.”
Staly commended his deputies both for the swift arrest (that’s not been uncommon recently, with several such chases ending quickly with an arrest) but also for not firing their weapons when confronted. “We train our deputies a lot to deescalate, the use of force is the last resrt,” he said, citing many such cases in recent years that have ended with “no one being shot and successful outcomes ultimately, like today.”
He added: “We’ve been fortunate and I hope that continues.”
On the run
Maria Davis says
Concerned Citizen says
Try as you might you’ll never out run a radio or Fire Flight.
Good job to all for getting this guy off the streets. Maybe that encounter with one of our K-9’s will teach him a lesson. Then again who knows.
As a retired LEO myself I know it is a stressful situation to be involved in a chase then try and apprehend a suspect. My hat goes off to FCSO for using the proper force necessary.
Bravo, FCSO!! I received both a text and phone call and was able to alert my son who was home in the Z section at the time. He was able to call in late to work and stayed put until we knew it was over. Thank you, Sheriff Staly and all involved in ending this quickly and peaceably. God bless our LEOs.
Vicki and Brian Nixon says
Nice job by PD & K9!!!
Job well done by Rick Staley and all his Officers under his command.Thank You all in BLUE!!
DEE k Griggs says
Strangely enough the helicopter kept circling over my house.
It was a rare time my garage door was open and no emergency alert went off on the cell phones at the house.
I even went onto the back patio as did a visitor at my house at the time ,not knowing danger was right in our back door /woods basically.. I will be sure I keep my garage closed all times as I normally do, as well as doors. I remembered my dog had barked about something which is unlike him, and I thought it was the kids coming from the bus. My dog stays on duty 24/7. I am glad that Flagler County canine got the man and I applause the job the offers and Sherriff Staley are doing. May they return home safely to their families each day. A huge thank you for your services.
Old Hammock says
FCSO should provide statistics on each scumbag who’s arrested as to where they were born. I’d bet money that a good majority are from the Northeast U.S.
Chris A Pickett says
I love it when the K9 gets into the action, but probably less “restraint” should have been used. Time to end the “crime spree” mentality and the best way is for the criminals to KNOW it will end badly.
Excellent work ..one less dirtbag druggie off the street, for now anyway! Let’s see the court system step up
Just the truth says
when a criminals realize sooner or later they all get caught.
Trailer Bob says
I love this guy Staley…He seems to give a damn about the rest of us good guys and girls. Keep it up.
Another scumbag off the streets! Great job FCSO!
Forty-four years old and doing this kind of crap? Grow up already; there’s still time to make your mama proud!
Just the truth says
Sheriff Staly keep cleaning up the streets of PC something that wasn’t a priority before. PC seems to attract meth lab scum bags, robbers and drug scum bags. Get them out of here.
John T says
Hats off to Sherriff Staly and his deputies once again…most professional police force out there!! Thank you Thank you thank you!!!
the K-9 took a bite out of crime