A homeless man was arrested this week after a high-speed chase that ended in Summerfield.
A Marion County sheriff’s deputy was traveling on U.S. 301 late Sunday night when he saw a black 2001 GMC Yukon turn north out of a neighborhood and rapidly accelerate to a high rate of speed. The deputy activated his emergency lights and siren and the SUV began weaving between other vehicles and made several evasive maneuvers, including passing vehicles in a no-passing zone and off the roadway, a sheriff’s office report states.
The pursuit ended a short time later when the SUV bearing a New Jersey license tag turned onto SE 148th Place and drove into a wood line. The driver, later identified as 23-year-old Dezmond Paul Bartholomew, fled into a wooded area, while several passengers also ran from the vehicle, the report says.
A sheriff’s K-9 deputy and his dog tracked Bartholomew’s scent to a residence in the 3200 block of SE 148th Place. A gate in the backyard was open and deputies soon learned that the occupant of the home had ties to the stolen Yukon, the report says, adding that another deputy located Bartholomew in the 3300 block of SE 147th Lane and was speaking with him.
Meanwhile, deputies spoke with a woman who had approached them about the vehicle involved in the pursuit. She said she had been taking a nap and when she woke up, she went outside to smoke a cigarette and noticed that her vehicle, a GMC Yukon owned by her father, was missing. She said her keys also were missing and she didn’t know who was driving the SUV, the report says.
The woman said she and her boyfriend had picked up Bartholomew and brought him to their house. She said he didn’t live at her residence but “may have personal belongings in the house because he slept” at the residence “like a month ago,” the report says.
The woman then changed her story and said she had been in an argument with her boyfriend earlier and he had left the house. She said Bartholomew was in the residence during the verbal altercation and that he and two other people left the house and one of them probably took the keys. She said Bartholomew had texted her asking if everything was OK right before he was stopped by the deputy on SE 147th Lane.
After being read his rights, Bartholomew said he had been dropped off at the residence earlier in the day by someone driving a silver pickup truck. He said he stayed at the house the night before and he sleeps on the couch when he stays there. He said someone else had taken the Yukon and he was out taking a walk when he was stopped by the deputy one block away, the report says.
Bartholomew denied being involved in the high-speed pursuit and said he wasn’t driving because his license is suspended. A computer check verified that he had several active suspensions for failure to pay traffic fines and other financial responsibilities, with the latest one coming on Nov. 14, 2018.
Bartholomew was then taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was charged with fleeing and eluding an officer with lights and siren active, obstructing without violence and driving while license suspended. He was released Tuesday morning on $3,500 bond and his next court date hasn’t yet been set.