Ex-college basketball player jailed after crashing into Mayport gate

Deputies say he boosted the truck from a Palm Coast landscaping business

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager, Corley Peel - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man is in custody after he crashed a stolen dump truck into the Naval Station Mayport gate Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The Ford F-350 truck came to an abrupt halt about 9 a.m. when a barrier protecting the base’s main gate activated, and authorities took 24-year-old Rodney Simeon (pictured below) into custody. No one was hurt.

Simeon, a former Alabama State basketball player with a Miami address, is currently being held at the Duval County jail on Flagler County warrants for burglary and grand theft auto in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Rodney Simeon mug shot on crash scene

The truck was reported stolen Tuesday morning from Corey Enterprises Lawn and Landscape, a Palm Coast landscaping business, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

"This guy appeared to be on a mission and wasn’t going to let anyone or anything stand in his way,"
Sheriff Rick Staly said. "We still do not know his intent or what caused him to steal a heavy duty truck
and try to force his way onto a Naval base."

An employee told deputies that a man had approached him behind the business about 7:15 a.m. and asked about fuel. At that point, the concerned employee told a coworker to shut off the gas.

LISTEN: Landscaper calls 911 after truck stolen from business

While employees were trying to prevent the man from stealing any fuel, the man walked into a repair bay, grabbed a set of keys, got into the truck and drove away, according to an incident report.

It was then that employees dialed 911. While speaking with a dispatcher, they were able to track the truck's progress in real-time using the vehicle's GPS device.

"Right now, he's on U.S. 1 heading north," the caller told the dispatcher. "He possibly might be past Matanzas... Well yeah, he's past Matanzas. He still might be heading north."

The 911 call ended abruptly shortly after the vehicle was tracked to Interstate 95, where it kept traveling north, and deputies arrived at the landscaping business.

Simeon's vehicle, a black Toyota Corolla without a tag, was left at Corey Enterprises. The vehicle was seized as evidence in the case and towed to the Sheriff's Office impound lot.

Simeon is expected to be in court Wednesday afternoon for a 1 p.m. first appearance.

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.