Police chase ends at north end boat ramp
A law enforcement chase Monday night started off Amelia Island, proceeded east over the Thomas J. Shave Jr. Bridge, veered right in front of the WestRock mill, continued up North 14th Street, and concluded at the Dee Dee Bartels Nature Center and Boat Ramp, with the 13-year-old driver and his 17-year-old passenger being taken into custody, according to local officials.
Officers from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Fernandina Beach Police Department finally corralled the two juveniles, both from Jacksonville, at the dead end by the Amelia River. The two are “possible burglary suspects as well,” according to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.
Fernandina Beach Police Chief James Hurley said Tuesday morning that the incident began in an area where NCSO deputies were trying to “collect” a wanted suspect. While there, the deputies observed a vehicle that “entered the secure area at a high rate of speed.”
The chase began west of I-95, and proceeded along S.R. 200/A1A, toward the city.
“The county requested our assistance by deploying Stop Sticks to flatten the tires,” Hurley explained, describing the chase as “relatively low speed” due to some damage to the suspect’s vehicle. Hurley said the devices were deployed at Sadler Road and South Eighth Street “and successfully flattened the remaining vehicle tires.”
The chase proceeded up Eighth Street, turned right on Franklin Street, then north on 14th Street, on to Pogy Place, then into the county’s park, “where they were summarily collected,” Hurley said, adding that he was unsure if the chase suspects were related in any way to the investigation NCSO conducted earlier in the evening.
Leeper told the News-Leader that around 10:30 p.m. his deputies were looking for a suspect that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wanted in reference to a bank robbery in Jacksonville.
“A deputy was positioned at Edwards Road and Randy Road blocking the roadway in a surveillance mode. A 2002 red Ford F-350 pickup truck approached the deputy and drove into the ditch and around the roadblock. The deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, but the driver of the pickup truck failed to stop and fled eastbound on SR- 200. “The vehicle continued eastbound on SR-200 at anywhere from 40-86 mph attempting to elude the deputy. The vehicle ran several stoplights along SR-200. Assistance was requested from the Fernandina Beach Police Department as the vehicle was coming onto Amelia Island toward Fernandina Beach.”
Leeper added that the vehicle was allegedly stolen from the driver's grandparents in Jacksonville. The 13-year-old was charged with felony fleeing, no driver’s license, and resisting arrest without violence. The 17-year-old was charged with resisting arrest without violence.
Police officers on the island had a busy night. In another incident, the FBPD arrested a suspect on charges of burglary of a vehicle and theft after a violin valued at over $5,000 was reported stolen from a car parked at the McDonald’s at 1896 S. Eighth St. around 10:35 p.m.
In that case, Christopher Matthew Nelson, 33, of Fernandina Beach was arrested for allegedly taking the violin from one car plus a vape pen from another car parked at the restaurant.
According to the police report, James Nixon said that after eating at the McDonald’s with friends, he returned home. He then noticed that his wife’s violin was missing from his vehicle. The restaurant’s manager, Kassandra Forbes, also reported to the police that her own vehicle had been burglarized, and she was missing a vape pen worth $183.
The officer received descriptions of two men who had been at the restaurant earlier, and later spotted the two men in the parking lot of the Beach Diner at 2206 S. Eighth St. Upon questioning, one of the men alleged Nelson had taken the violin. Though Nelson “denied ever entering a vehicle,” the instrument and the pen were later recovered at an address on Holly Drive, and Nelson was placed under arrest.