Police Blotter: Maryland man accused of fleeing police in high speed chase
A Maryland man is accused of fleeing Fort Walton Beach Police and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies in high speed chases across the south part of Okaloosa County.
Deputies were called for assistance on March 9 around 1:45 a.m. when Fort Walton Beach officers were in a high speed chase with a vehicle across Okaloosa Island, according to the arrest report. Officers terminated their pursuit, but deputies saw the vehicle still traveling at a high rate of speed soon after and attempted a traffic stop.
The driver, later identified as 35-year-old Jeffery Michael Southland, continued on at speeds exceeding 120 mph, the report said. Deputies stopped pursuing the car at the Destin Bridge for safety reasons, but staff at AJ’s Oyster Bar and Marina called soon after, reporting a man who had “entered their parking lot at a high rate of speed” before getting out and walking quickly on U.S. 98.
He was constantly observed by AJ’s staff until deputies stopped him, according to the report. Southland allegedly had “a strong odor of alcoholic beverages coming from his person,” bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech.
The key to the vehicle that was involved in the chase was in Southland’s pocket, the report said.
He is charged with fleeing police at high speed.
His next scheduled court date is April 21.