Santa Rosa Sheriff’s deputies were led on a series of high-speed pursuits through before finally bringing an alleged car thief into custody Jan. 3.
Coty James Anderson, 23, of Milton is facing 19 felony charges and five misdemeanors for the incidents that occurred over the course of two days.
According to multiple arrest reports, the incidents began Jan. 2 with a stolen vehicle reported in the area of Munson Highway. The vehicle was seen leaving the Short Stop Gas Station, and a deputy attempted to pursue the vehicle. But the driver, later identified as Anderson, began passing other vehicles at a high rate of speed, so the pursuit was called off due to safety concerns according to a report.
On Stewart Street, another deputy spotted the stolen vehicle and turned toward it to initiate a traffic stop. After the deputy turned on her emergency lights, Anderson allegedly began to accelerate through traffic, causing vehicles to swerve to avoid a collision. This continued for about half a mile before the pursuit was once again stopped.
The vehicle was again located at a residence on Munson Highway by deputies. According to witness statements, Anderson approached the property owner asking for gas before fleeing into the woods when a deputy arrived.
Anderson then allegedly stole another vehicle in the area. A resident flagged down a deputy looking for Anderson to report the theft. Upon the vehicle being spotted again in Milton, several deputies in marked vehicles began following the vehicle. Anderson then allegedly took off at a high rate of speed at the intersection of Broad Street.
He allegedly ran stop signs and red lights, swerving recklessly around other vehicles. The pursuit was unable to continue in the city limits.
The next day, deputies went to an address on Brigadier Road to serve a warrant. Anderson was known to be at the address. As four law enforcement officers approached the residence on foot, a truck began pulling out of the driveway.
The vehicle was identified as the truck allegedly stolen by Anderson Jan. 2. Despite law enforcement officers giving commands and signals for Anderson to exit the vehicle, the truck was accelerated toward the officers, causing them to dive out of its path.
A deputy in the area observed Anderson leaving in the truck and pursued, turning on emergency lights and siren. The driver did not stop, accelerated and temporarily lost control of the vehicle, causing it to spin out facing the opposite direction on the road.
As the deputy began to exit his vehicle, Anderson allegedly accelerated, colliding with the driver’s side door of the patrol car. He then allegedly fled law enforcement down rural roads at an average speed of 95 miles per hour.
A spike strip was utilized, and Anderson allegedly swerved toward the deputies on the side of the road.
The chase continued into Alabama where the vehicle eventually began to slow. Anderson then allegedly exited the vehicle on his own and laid on the ground.
He was taken into custody.
The stolen truck was still rolling, and a deputy had to put it in park. The chase had covered 36.6 miles according to the report. It was also discovered that Anderson’s driver’s license had been suspended numerous times since 2016. At the time of the incident he did not have a valid driver’s license, just a Florida ID card according to the reports.
Anderson was booked into Santa Rosa County Jail. He has been given no bond. His charges include:
- Six counts of felony aggravated assault with a weapon (the stolen vehicles)
- Four counts of felony assault on law enforcement
- Three counts of felony fleeing law enforcement
- Two counts of felony grand theft
- Felony aggravated battery
- Felony meth distribution
- Felony possession of a weapon by a felon
- Felony drugs possession
- Two misdemeanor moving traffic violations for driving without a license
- Misdemeanor trespassing
- Misdemeanor drug equipment possession
- Misdemeanor marijuana possession