High-speed pursuit leads to 3 arrests

The stolen Dodge Hellcat recovered by law enforcement in Columbia County on Friday.
This stolen Dodge Hellcat was recovered by law enforcement in Columbia County on Friday. (Courtesy FHP)
Courtesy FHP

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) released a timeline for the pursuit and arrest of three men who stole two vehicles and were apprehended Friday in Columbia County.

The three men arrested were Steven Grimes, 20, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, Michael Ernest King, 20, of East Pointe, Michigan, and Cejay Spencer, 16, of Minot, Michigan.

Steven Rogell Grimes
Courtesy CCSO Steven Rogell Grimes

According to an FHP report, the FHP Communications Center in Jacksonville was notified at 6:23 a.m. about two stolen vehicles – a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee and a 2022 Dodge Durango – traveling north on I-75 in Sumter County and were being tracked by the owner.

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The owner later advised FHP that the Dodge stopped in Marion County at an unknown location and nearly 45 minutes later a Florida Department of Agriculture Law officer spotted the Jeep traveling north on I-75. The officer attempted a traffic stop near the 450 mile marker in Hamilton County, but the Jeep driver sped away with a green 2022 Dodge Hellcat close behind. Both vehicles fled north into Lowndes County in Georgia where the Jeep was abandoned in Lake Park.

The Jeep driver and two other occupants got into the Hellcat and continued north on I-75 and failed to stop for a Lowndes County Sheriff’s patrol. The Hellcat driver took exit 22, turned around and then proceeded south on I-75.

Once back in Florida, FHP attempted a traffic stop of the Hellcat driver who traveled at speeds over 160 miles per hour. Near the 439 mile marker in Hamilton County, FHP officers deployed a spike strip that the Hellcat hit with its left front tire. The driver continued to flee with the flat tire and, as the Hellcat approached the State Road 247 overpass in Columbia County, the driver and two passengers exited the moving vehicle and fled on foot toward a wooded area east of I-75.

Ernest James King
Courtesy CCSO Ernest James King

Law enforcement agencies – that included the FHP, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), Lake City Police Department, Florida Department of Corrections K-9 units, Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission officers, Florida Department of Agriculture and Lowndes County (Georgia) Sheriff’s patrol deputies – set up perimeter in the Quail Heights Country Club area.

According to a CCSO social media post on Friday morning, two of the suspects were apprehended by 8:50 a.m. At 1:20 p.m., the third suspect was taken into custody. The three men were charged with grand theft, fleeing/attempting to elude, obstructing justice and dealing in stolen property. They are being held in the Columbia County Jail.

Multiple agencies tracked down three men who led law enforcement on a two-state chase Friday morning.
Courtesy FHP Multiple agencies tracked down three men who led law enforcement on a two-state chase Friday morning.

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Of course.