Safety expert pursues hit-and-run driver

Ken Jefferson says police instincts kicked in after witnessing crash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Channel 4 crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson had to put some of his own advice into practice Tuesday night when he said he witnessed a hit-and-run crash.

Jefferson said his police instincts kicked in, and he gave chase to the driver.

Police caught the suspect thanks to the help of Jefferson and another alert JEA worker.

In a case like this, Jefferson says people should follow his advice, not necessarily what he did.

Jefferson, a former Jacksonville police officer, said he witnessed the accident while driving down Atlantic Boulevard and saw the car at fault try to speed away.

"The car goes into reverse and the wheels begin to spin, and he backs off and he flees," Jefferson said.

He said using his police instincts, he called 911 and began following the car.

"My only objective at that point was to get close enough to get a tag number," Jefferson said. "All the while I am on the line with JSO, the 911 intake officer. I am giving her a play-by-play of what is going on."

Jefferson said as the driver tried to flee, it became very dangerous.

"I knew there was one road with one way out," he said. "I went around to the end. He had to come out, and by the time I got there, he was coming towards me with no headlights on and at an excessive rate of speed."

Eventually with the help of Jefferson, police and the Florida Highway Patrol arrived and stopped the driver.

"I would not advise an ordinary citizen to take all the steps I took," Jefferson said. "I am trained in that area. I have trained officers in that area. The adrenalin kicked in and it was in my mind I was not going to let this guy get away."

Much to Jefferson's dismay, the driver was not arrested, only cited for leaving the scene.

"This guy did not just leave the scene of an accident, he was clearly trying to get away from being arrested for whatever reason," Jefferson said. "He did not want to stay there."

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