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Deputies: Armed carjacker arrested after chase ends in crash

Clay County deputies say carjacker charged with kidnapping, 4 other counts

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MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – A police chase that started Saturday evening when a man stole a victim's Crown Victoria at gunpoint ended with a violent crash at a Blanding Boulevard intersection, the Clay County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said the pursuit started about 8 p.m. after Derrick Dunham pointed a gun and ordered 55-year-old Thomas Compton into the passenger seat of Compton's Crown Victoria, then got behind the wheel and took off down Blanding Boulevard.

Dunham, 31, led deputies on a chase that ended 4½ miles later at the intersection of Blanding Boulevard and Branan Field Road when the carjacked Crown Victoria plowed into a Chevrolet Silverado carrying three teens, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The truck had been stopped at a red light behind another pickup, and the impact from the Crown Victoria pushed it into the back of the other pickup and then sent it spinning into a third truck, troopers said.

A 17-year-old driver and his two 17-year-old female passengers in the Silverado were not injured. All three were wearing seat belts, according to the FHP report. The drivers of the other two trucks were also wearing seat belts and were not injured, troopers said.

Dunham suffered minor injuries and was taken to Orange Park Medical Center. Compton told News4Jax he was taken to a hospital to be checked out but he was OK.

Deputies said the gun used in the carjacking was recovered. Compton said at some point during the chase, Dunham tossed the gun in his lap, and then Compton threw the gun out the window.

Dunham was booked into the Clay County jail on charges of armed carjacking, aggravated assault, kidnapping, possession of cocaine and eluding officers. 

His bond was set at $655,020 during his first appearance Monday morning. His next court date is April 3.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the traffic crash and says charges are pending.

Dunham previously served time for cocaine possession, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.

Compton thanked deputies in a comment on the Clay County Sheriff's Office Facebook page:

🔺COMMUNITY NEWS: This evening an armed carjacking occurred around the 1000 block of Blanding Blvd. Due to the help of...

Posted by Clay County Sheriff's Office, Florida on Saturday, February 23, 2019

About the Authors:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.