LAKE BUTLER, Fla. – A high-speed two-county chase of a stolen pickup truck early Thursday morning led to an arrest and the recovery of several stolen weapons.
A Lake Butler resident called the Union County Sheriff's Office at 4:15 a.m. to say a man had just driven off in his Ford F250 that had pistols, an assault rifle and other weapons inside. Alerts for the vehicle were issued in Bradford, Columbia and Alachua counties.
About 7:30 a.m., Bradford County deputies spotted the pickup on County Road 231 in Brooker. Deputies began a 20-minute chase of the pickup truck at speeds up to 100 mph on county roads 231, 18, 241 238 and 239, with the pickup attempting to ram cruisers set up as roadblocks to direct the chase away from more populated areas.
"We were concerned about the safety of our citizens, so we wanted to isolate him to a more rural area so we could try to stop him," Union County Sheriff Charles Whitehead said. "Once we got to a more isolated area, I authorized the supervisors to disable the vehicle by taking the tires out."
When deputies were able to disable the disable the tire of the pickup on a dirt road, the driver got out and ran into some woods. Deputies caught up with the man after about 10 minutes.
Several weapons were found inside the vehicle, Union County Lt. Daniel Williams said.
The driver was identified as Darryl Ray Greer, 43, from Lake Butler. He was booked into the Union County jail on charges of grand theft auto, armed burglary to a vehicle, possession of firearms by a convicted felon and fleeing and alluding.
Authorities said Greer has a long history of drug abuse and violence toward people and law enforcement.
"Since 1991 he’s been in and out of jail. He was arrested for stealing cars at least three times in 2006 and is known to be a problem," Whitehead said. “Our primary concern was the safety of the citizens of Union County and stopping this person from hurting anyone through his erratic behavior and driving."
In addition to the three counties involved, the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife and Florida Department of Correction's K-9 team also assisted. There were no injuries.