Last Updated: 3:21 p.m.
Update: Both suspects who’d fled a burning pick-up stuck they allegedly stole were apprehended after 1:30 p.m.
The report of a stolen pick-up truck Volusia County and heading into Flagler led to a chase in the county, where the occupants abandoned the truck, on fire, at Hargrove Grade on U.S. 1, triggering a foot pursuit that continues as of now. The incident has drawn a very large police response and some traffic controls on U.S. 1.
The foot pursuit was centered in the area of the Palm Coast Public Works facility on U.S. 1.
“There are deputies in the parking lot and around the woodline behind the facility,” a Palm Coast administration spokesperson said at 12:45 p.m. “But they’ve not said anything about locking down. Our public works department has made the decision to stay indoors and wait until this passes.”
There are no schools within miles of where the incident has unfolded, though the pick-up truck’s occupants at one point drove through Matanzas Woods Parkway.
Flagler authorities got alerted to the stolen vehicle, a white Chevy pick-up, around 11 a.m. Around 11:30, after FireFlight launched, the Chevy was spotted on I-95 in Flagler, going north, and ignoring police units following with lights and sirens on. The Chevy exited the highway at Matanzas Woods Parkway, going west in the direction of U.S. 1, then south on U.S. 1.
Deputies typically drop stop sticks at road segments they anticipate vehicles they’re chasing will cross. When successful, stop sticks puncture tires and disable normal operations of the vehicle, which often loses control.
That appears to have been the case with the chevy, which ended up in a ditch at Hargrove Grade, on fire. The cause of the fire is not know. Witnesses at the scene saw the vehicle engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived. The fire was put out within a half hour.
At least two occupants were seen in the Chevy, a man and a woman, both of whom fled.
The incident was the second of its kind for sheriff’s deputies, who set chase and arrested three individuals earlier this morning. According to a sheriff’s release issued in mid-afternoon, a deputy observed a BMW driving recklessly on I-95 at a high rate of speed with no lights on just after 1:30 this morning. The deputy tried to execute a traffic stop, lights and sirens activated. The vehicle fled, exiting I-95 at State Road 100 going east.
The deputy deactivated his emergency lights and notified other deputies that the BMW was fleeing. The BMW then passed another deputy and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, both of whom attempted to stop the vehicle. The BMW kept fleeing, reaching speeds of 130 mph.
Contact with the car was lost as it went into Flagler Beach, but authorities found the BMW parked in front of 1414 South Flagler Ave. A high-risk traffic stop was conducted, and all occupants were taken into custody without incident. All three were found to be from the Miami area.
The driver, Jose Eugenio Garcia Torres, was placed under arrest on three counts of Fleeing and Eluding and Possession of Hashish. One of the two passengers, Geovar Yahir Gonzalez Murgas, was arrested and charged with Possession of Hashish. The second passenger, Monica Wu Yu, was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. All are currently being held at the county jail.
“This driver endangered many lives while attempting to evade law enforcement,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “Especially during Bike Week, we do not tolerate reckless driving. Another out-of-county criminal thought they could come to Flagler County, then run and hide from FCSO and our partners.”
Stolen in Jax, made it to Volusia (Ormond Beach/Daytona Beach), doubled back to Flagler. Makes you wonder whether it’s Bike Week/Spring Breaks theft related more so than stolen vehicle for chop shop/black market resale as parted out or whatever might fetch the most money or even make the criminals & the vehicle relatively invisible & disappear as a fencing operation ? Anyway, FCSO Facebook update, both male & female are in custody. 20 somethings
Hats off to FCSO, job well done.
It will only be a matter of time before these two idiots are caught. Unfortunately the owner of the truck has a big headache on his/her hands by having to replace the truck and pay more for insurance, which I think should be passed on to the two idiots that stole the truck in the first place.
Stop Sticks do not make the vehicle “often lose control”. They intentionally release the air in a controlled way. Most of the time the driver stops after the tires go flat because they realize they are out of options.
No wonder you don’t see them around town. They are all out patrolling I95 !!!!!!