A Palm Coast man was arrested Thanksgiving evening after he allegedly rammed a Sheriff’s car and tried to run over deputies on I-95 during a police pursuit. Daytona Beach Police and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office say the incident started when 45-year old Daniel J. Ruddell allegedly robbed the Circle K convenience store at Clyde Morris Boulevard and LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach at around 5 p.m. The store clerk told police a man approached the counter with “…a small cup in his hand and a…small white plastic tube in his other hand that he was holding against his chest.” The clerk says the man told him that the cup had a poisonous gas in it, and for the clerk to “…act cool…” while customers entered the store at the time. Police say one witness told them that they asked if the suspect was ok, and advised him that he was spilling the liquid in his cup, but the man did not answer in return. Police say the suspect then left the store with his unpaid-for items, and $915 in cash from the store register.
When the clerk told customers in the store that he had just been robbed, some of the customers left the store and said they saw Ruddell by a black truck outside, and that his license plate on the truck was concealed. Shortly after 5 p.m., Daytona Beach Police officers reported a truck matching the description of Ruddell’s, with the tag covered by duct tape, northbound on Derbyshire Road. Investigating officers at the convenience store confirmed that they had charges against the suspect, and a Police Lieutenant authorized a pursuit of the vehicle, which did not pull over as officers initiated a traffic stop. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office also says that Daytona Beach Police and Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies had located the truck at Nova Road and Tenth Street.
Officers continued to pursue the vehicle to I-95, where the truck took the interstate northbound. Daytona Beach Police confirmed that the vehicle was maintaining a high rate of speed on the interstate, and officers were authorized to use stop sticks. However, police say the driver of the truck was able to avoid the stop sticks, and the pursuit continued into Flagler County. Daytona Beach Police abandoned the chase at Flagler County, as Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies took over.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kevin Kelshaw says Flagler County deputies attempted to stop the truck with stop sticks twice, but were unsuccessful. Sheriff’s deputies in St. Johns County took over the pursuit as it continued northbound into their jurisdiction. Kelshaw says that the truck rammed a Flagler County Sheriff’s car and “…attempted to run over deputies…” as the driver avoided stop sticks deployed on I-95 at State Road 207. Deputies then “…fired shots at the suspect vehicle…” as it continued northbound on I-95. Kelshaw says a P.I.T. maneuver “…caused the suspect to crash near the [County Road] 214 overpass.” According to Wikipedia, a P.I.T., or precision immobilization technique, forces the fleeing vehicle to “…abruptly turn sideways.”
Kelshaw says Ruddell was taken into custody and evaluated for injuries at Flagler Hospital. Ruddell was then arrested on charges of Aggravated Fleeing and Attempting to Elude with Property Damage. Additional charges were also pending, according to Kelshaw. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said it would be investigating the case as well. Meanwhile, Daytona Beach Police Detectives conducted their investigation of the robbery at the convenience store, where a Daytona Beach Police Sergeant identified Ruddell from the store security camera footage, and witnesses provided statements about the incident.
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