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Narcotics sting leads to destructive high-speed chase in Nassau County, deputies say

Narcotics sting leads to destructive high-speed chase in Nassau County, deputies say
Narcotics sting leads to destructive high-speed chase in Nassau County, deputies say

CALLAHAN, Fla. – What began as an undercover narcotics sting escalated into a high-speed chase that left vehicles and property damaged, according to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office

Vince Clark, 25, of Jacksonville, was arrested Wednesday by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office following a series of events that began as an undercover narcotics operation.

According to an arrest report, earlier this week, undercover narcotics deputies were conducting an audio and video recorded controlled purchased of fentanyl from Clark at a location in Callahan. The report states Clark made several calls to an undercover deputy regarding the meeting location, number of narcotics requested and the price of the narcotics prior to the controlled buy.

The Sheriff’s Office said that on Wednesday, Clark drove up a gas station on U.S. Highway 1 in Callahan and then got into the vehicle of the undercover deputy for another transaction before returning to his own car.

According to the report, as Clark was attempting to leave the gas station, members of the Nassau County Special Response Team tried to drive up on Clark’s car to execute a pinch maneuver but were unsuccessful. The report said Clark’s Mazda 6 crashed into an occupied parked vehicle before taking off from the gas station with deputies in pursuit down U.S. Highway 1.

A witness, who News4Jax is not identifying, said she was pumping gas when she was almost hit by the Mazda.

“I was very close. I was very close to all of it, and it really scared me,” she said.

The report states the Mazda turned onto Ratliff Road at a high rate of speed. The report also states the car was traveling down the center of the two-lane road, causing other drivers to veer off the roadway to avoid a crash. At one point, while speeding down Ratliff Road, Clark’s car was traveling in the opposite lane of travel and almost struck an SUV head-on, according to the report.

Deputies said Clark’s car then went off the road, drove through a fence and two yards before driving through and destroying a porch. According to neighbors, a small dog also suffered minor injuries when the car crashed into the porch. The car continued through a third yard, where it went through a carport, struck two unoccupied vehicles and then the car came to a stop, as it was no longer operable, the report said.

Randy Geiger and his wife own the truck and the car that were hit. Geiger said he was in the kitchen and heard the crash.

“I looked out my kitchen window and there were four cops chasing a guy across my backyard and I said, ‘Uh oh,’” Geiger said.

The report states Clark exited the car and tried to run off but was eventually caught. Deputies said a passenger in the car also tried to run but was captured in the backyard of the property.

Deputies said they located a bag that had been thrown in the yard. Deputies said it contained 16 clear individual baggies with a powdery substance.

When deputies searched the car, according to the report, they found a bag containing a yellow waxy substance that weighed 28 grams along with a prescription bottle with no name on it containing promethazine hydrochloride oral solution. In addition to that discovery, deputies also found marijuana and oxycodone hydrochloride pills, according to the report.

Deputies said the white powdery substance found in the baggies field-tested positive for fentanyl. The yellow substance field-tested positive for cocaine.

Items seized by the Nassau County Sheriff's Office. (Nassau County Sheriff's Office)

Clark was booked Wednesday night into the Nassau County jail on charges of trafficking fentanyl, trafficking cocaine, illegally possessing a controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance, using a phone to facilitate a drug deal, resisting arrest and eluding law enforcement, according to online jail records. As of Thursday evening, Clark remained in jail, where he was being held without bond, jail records show.

The passenger in the car, a 25-year-old Jacksonville man, was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest. Since that is a misdemeanor charge, News4Jax has decided not to name him.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said they started investigating Clark after arresting and questioning some of his clients.

The sheriff added that it’s not uncommon for a drug suspect to try and evade his deputies.

“It does happen on occasions. It just depends on the situation. We try to control it the best way we can,” he said.

Court records show Clark is currently facing charges in Duval County following an arrest last October on charges of marijuana possession and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to court records.

Vince Clark (Nassau County Sheriff's Office)

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