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Deputies Stung By Swarm Of Hornets While Chasing Fugitive Who Left Dogs To Burn Inside Stolen Truck

Palm Coast, FL – Flagler County deputies were stung by hornets and a suspect’s dog died in a burning pickup after the fleeing fugitive crashed into a tree and ran off into the woods in a failed attempt to evade arrest.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) was notified at approximately 11 a.m. on March 9 that a white 2002 Chevrolet Silverado that had been reported as stolen out of Jacksonville was traveling through Flagler County, the department said in a press release the following day.

The driver briefly drove out of Flagler County and into Volusia County before he returned to Flagler County and was spotted by deputies.

But when they tried to pull the driver over, he refused to stop and took off down Interstate 95 at a high rate of speed, according to the FCSO.

He ultimately pulled off the interstate at Matanzas Woods Parkway and continued traveling west.

According to court documents, a pursuit was not authorized, but a Flagler County Fire Rescue (FCFR) helicopter was able to maintain a visual on the fleeing vehicle from above, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

A FCSO deputy managed to deploy a tire deflation device near Matanzas Woods Parkway and US 1, which successfully deflated two of the tires on the stolen pickup.

The suspect continued driving south into the Hargrove Grade area, where he crashed into a tree, according to the sheriff’s office.

The suspect and a female passenger bailed out of the stolen truck and took off running into the woods as the vehicle burst into flames, the FCSO said.

Deputies said the duo left their two dogs trapped inside the burning truck when they fled.

While FCFR and Palm Coast Fire Department (PCFD) firefighters worked to douse the blaze, deputies searched the heavily wooded area with the assistance of multiple K9s.

The situation turned even more dangerous when the deputies stumbled upon a swarm of hornets, according to the sheriff’s office.

Three deputies were stung repeatedly by the insects, with one deputy suffering more than 20 stings.

The injured deputy was later treated and released at Advent Health-Palm Coast.

K9 Baro honed in on the male driver at approximately 1:33 p.m. and apprehended him in the dense brush, but the wanted fugitive initially refused to surrender.

“The suspect attempted to attack the K-9 but K-9 Baro held on to the suspect,” the FCSO noted.

Deputies apprehended the female suspect with the assistance of K9 Holmes less than 30 minutes later.

Meanwhile, firefighters found the remains of one of the suspects’ two dogs inside the charred remnants of the stolen pickup truck, the sheriff’s office said.

The second dog’s location is unknown.

The male suspect initially provided deputies with a fake name, but was later identified as Emmitt Loges.

Loges was wanted out of several states on multiple charges, according to the FCSO.

He was arrested on new charges of animal cruelty causing cruel death, pain, suffering, criminal mischief, touch or strike police animal causing harm, aggravated fleeing with injury or damage, resisting an officer without violence and grand theft motor vehicle.

Additional charges for his warrants and providing a false name are pending, according to the FCSO.

The female suspect has been identified as West Virginia resident Sarah Brooks.

Brooks was charged with resisting an officer without violence and animal cruelty causing cruel death, pain, suffering.

Her bond was set at $22,000.

Within hours, deputies were notified about a second stolen vehicle traveling through their jurisdiction, the FCSO said.

The unrelated incident involved a gray 2019 Volkswagen Tiquan that had been reported as stolen out of Volusia County.

The driver and passenger inside that stolen vehicle also fled off into the woods after crashing the car, leading to yet another search.

One of the suspects surrendered after K9 Axle was deployed.

The second suspect was apprehended by the K9 after he refused to comply with deputies’ commands.

They were later identified as 16-year-old Andre Jamar Smith and 14-year-old Elijah Levi Norris.

“These four criminals thought they could evade our deputies and K-9 Unit and not get caught,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in the press release. “As we have proven over and over in the last few days: if you run from FCSO, you will go to the Green Roof Inn tired and in this case dog-bitten too.”

“I commend our team for their hard work in apprehending these felons and thank Fireflight for their assistance,” Sheriff Staly continued. “Fortunately, the deputies injured from multiple stings did not have a serious reaction and will make full recoveries. I commend them for not giving up and still pursuing these dirtbags despite being stung repeatedly during the chase.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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