ST. JOHNS COUNTY - Two Pennsylvania men were arrested Wednesday morning after a brief pursuit in St. Johns County of a vehicle carjacked overnight in Duval County.
The incident began just before 4 a.m. when Deputy Joey Romer spotted a stolen vehicle traveling south on Interstate 95. The suspect vehicle was pursued off the interstate and westbound onto State Road 16.
During the chase, the suspect vehicle struck one of the pursuing deputies' cruisers head-on.
Deputies conducted two pit maneuvers on the suspect vehicle before coming to a stop at Toms Road. The two suspects refused to get out of the locked vehicle, but deputies broke a window and removed Matthew Lofton, 25, and Cory Bellamy, 26, both of Philadelphia, without incident.
"These individuals locked themselves in the car. They were not going to come out," said Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan, of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
Jacksonville officers, along with the victims of the carjacking, responded to the scene and positively identified the two suspects.
Both suspects were charged with carjacking out of Duval County. Jacksonville police said the suspects carjacked two 21-year-old women at a Gate gas station on Durbin Lake Drive at about 3:30 a.m.
Police said the victims saw the suspects sitting at a table outside when they went into the store, and when they left, the men approached them. Police said one of the suspects grabbed the woman who was driving and took the keys from her, and the other suspect pushed the other woman out of the way.
The men got into the car and drove off, police said.
In addition to the carjacking charges, Bellamy -- who was identified as the driver -- was also charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, along with aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude an officer. Lofton was also being held on an outstanding warrant out of New Jersey for aggravated arson.
Romer, along with Deputy Charles Simpkiss, sustained minor injuries during the chase.
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