2013-07-22 by: Deputy Paula J. Priester
Palatka, FL: On Sunday, July 21, 2013, at approximately 12:50 a.m., deputies with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1909 Roselle Avenue in reference to a report of a stolen vehicle.
Once on scene, deputies met with the victim, Meghan Passenger, who advised she parked her 1999 Toyota Corolla outside of her residence and went inside. Passenger stated she left the vehicle unlocked and the keys inside the car as she was only going to be home for a brief moment. Passenger advised an unknown individual made off with her vehicle while she was inside.
At approximately 5:00 a.m., Sergeant David Roe and Sergeant Pete Ruiz were in the Francis area on State Road 20 when they observed a vehicle make a U-turn a short distance in front of them. Sergeant Roe was able to obtain the license plate information and confirmed it was the same vehicle which had been reported stolen earlier in the evening.
Sergeant Roe and Sergeant Ruiz attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, but the driver, identified as Townsend Harris refused to stop. A pursuit ensued which led deputies into areas of Palatka. Stop sticks were deployed in the area of Roddy Road and Alabama Avenue, but Harris was able to maneuver around them. Harris lost control of the vehicle and ran into a chain link fence, but he was able to regain control and continued to elude law enforcement.
The pursuit continued on South Palm Avenue and Sliver Lake Drive until the vehicle crashed into several trees. Once the vehicle came to a complete stop, Harris gave chase on foot. Harris was apprehended a short distance away without further incident.
Harris was arrested and charged with two counts of Hit and Run, Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding Law Enforcement, Vehicle Theft, Larceny, and Resisting Law Enforcement without Violence. Harris is being held in the Putnam County Jail with a bond amount of $4,524.00.