On July 13, Deputy Ricketts observed a vehicle driving on Northeast Jacksonville Road. The vehicle, which was being driven by 19-year-old Jeremiah Lewis, had fresh body damage and was driving northbound in the southbound lane. After Deputy Ricketts activated his overhead emergency lights in an effort to conduct a traffic stop, the vehicle rapidly made a U-turn and fled at a high rate of speed.
Deputy Ricketts pursued the vehicle, which continued to drive recklessly. During the pursuit, Lewis hit a light pole and a stop sign, causing property damage. Then, a back-seat passenger began opening the door of the vehicle; after Lewis was apprehended deputies learned that this was a juvenile, who was desperately trying to get Lewis to stop the vehicle.
After a successful P.I.T. maneuver, the pursuit concluded in the 1600 block of NE 32nd Avenue. Lewis attempted to flee from the vehicle but was quickly apprehended.
The investigation revealed that Lewis had six juvenile passengers in the vehicle; their ages ranged from 12 years old to 16 years old.
The juveniles collectively told deputies they were desperately trying to get Lewis to stop, but he refused. He also refused to allow them to get out of the vehicle, which is why they were trying to open the door during the pursuit to escape. All of the juvenile victims’ parents stated Lewis did not have permission to take the children away from their residences. It was also discovered that the vehicle Lewis was driving was stolen from his grandmother.
Lewis was placed under arrest for Aggravated Fleeing or Attempting to Elude with Injury or Damage, False Imprisonment of a Child Under 13 Years of Age, five (5) counts of False Imprisonment, six (6) counts of Child Abuse, five (5) counts of Interference with Child Custody, Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Property Damage, Resisting an Officer without Violence, and Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle.
Before Lewis was taken to jail, one of the juveniles’ family members had a message for Lewis: She told Lewis he put all of the juveniles’ lives in danger but that he picked “the wrong county” to do it in.
Lewis is currently at the Marion County Jail, being held on a $51,000 bond.