Ocala, Florida — On today’s date, July 23, 2014, at approximately 7:00 a.m, the Ocala Police Department received a report of a stolen 2008 Black Dodge Ram 2500 diesel pickup truck from Too Your Health Spa, 2841 S.W. 20th St., Ocala, Florida. A BOLO (Be On the Look Out) was issued for the vehicle and possible leads were being followed up on by Ocala Police Officer Doug Russell.
Ocala police said someone went into the Too Your Health Spa and stole the keys to the pickup truck.
A short time later, the Ocala Police Department received information that a deputy with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office had located the stolen vehicle and a pursuit was initiated when the vehicle failed to stop.
Deputy Lee Sullivan, Watch Commander with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, attempted to join the pursuit; however, according to Captain James Pogue, Public Information Officer with the Marion County sheriff’s Office, the transmission in Deputy Sullivan’s older model patrol car failed.
Officials said in some instances, the driver of the stolen truck exceeded speeds of 100 mph while traveling in the wrong direction on a highway.
As the pursuit entered into Levy County, the driver of the vehicle returned to the proper lanes of travel.
Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow reported that multiple agencies used their vehicles in an attempt to block the driver, but the vehicle just slammed into the patrol vehicles. Strow said there was no stopping the stolen truck.
Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair said the driver spun out at one point then literally “ran over’’ the front end of Deputy Rich Peter’s patrol vehicle. The driver in the stolen truck then continued on. Deputy Peters was not injured.
In addition to the vehicle that “blew” a transmission and the other that was “run over,” two other Marion County Sheriff’s patrol cars were also damaged. Deputies Sue VanWeelden and Beth Billings also received damage to their patrol vehicles; neither deputy was injured.
In the city of Chiefland, the driver also reached speeds of 100 mph said Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas. Douglas said when the driver approached the city limits, officers put out stop sticks, but the driver went around them.
Douglas said the driver of the vehicle had no regard for the safety of citizens and showed absolutely no regard for law enforcement.
“He was driving “crazy,” he ran red lights…….just no regard at all,” said Douglas.
According to the Ocala Police Department’s Public Information Officer Angy Scroble, Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher responded when he was notified the pursuit was entering his county.
Sheriff Hatcher, not wanting the chase to go any further, used his department issued vehicle to ram the stolen truck in an attempt to force the driver off the road.
Authorities said the truck then flipped in the southbound lanes on U.S. 19.
Sheriff Hatcher was not injured during the crash.
The driver of the stolen truck, David Newmeyer, 17, was killed. Two other occupants, a 19-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl were transported to the hospital. They were treated and released.
“This individual was a danger to civilians as well as law enforcement officers involved in the chase,” said Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair.
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, a .380 semi-automatic handgun was found during a search of the vehicle.
Sheriff Chris Blair said that one of his deputies discharged their weapon at some point during the pursuit.
“I don’t want to speculate without all of the facts, but I will say we are conducting a review into one of our deputies discharging his weapon, in accordance with our policies,” said Sheriff Blair.
In regards to the crash, Captain James Pogue said the investigation was now in the hands of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The totality of all damages that occurred during the chases has yet to be determined. However, the damage to the Marion County Patrol vehicles was estimated to be well over $15,000.
Newmeyer had a history of drug use. His arrest record includes charges for Possession of a Weapon by a Minor (x2), Resisting Arrest, Grand Theft (x2), Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, and Petit Theft. He had just been released from jail on June 27, 2014, after being arrested on a warrant.
According to court records, Newmeyer had also been baker acted several times. At the time of his death, he had three open felony cases in which he was being tried as an adult.
Newmeyer’s arrest record was not exclusive to Marion County.
The combined Facebook profiles of all three suspects depict a life of guns, sex, drugs, and booze.
The pursuit spanned through Marion, Levy, Gilchrist, and ended in Dixie County.
The investigation is ongoing.
Dash cam video is not being released at this time.