Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Safety

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Safety

Article excerpt


A Palatka man faces several felony charges after leading police on an erratic two-county chase in a stolen van loaded with stolen property from a house in Middleburg.

During the chase, police said, the man endangered other motorists and pedestrians by driving the van onto sidewalks and running red lights on Blanding Boulevard at Wells Road, Argyle Forest Boulevard and Interstate 295.

James F. Osteen, 43, was arrested after three tires on the van he was driving were blown out by spike sticks thrown into his path by Jacksonville police officers on 103rd Street near Normandy Boulevard about 10 p.m. Oct. 9.

About a half-hour earlier, Clay County deputies patrolling Blanding Boulevard near Orange Park saw a van matching the description of a white van that had been seen leaving the scene of a burglary on Deer Park Road in Middleburg.

Christine Pugh arrived at her Deer Park Road home about 9 p.m. and saw a man getting into a white van parked in her driveway. The man told her he was "doing a favor for a friend" and drove off, according to a sheriff's report on the burglary.

Pugh followed the van and wrote down its tag number, then stopped at a fire station in Middleburg and reported the incident to the sheriff's office. Minutes later, the van was spotted by deputies heading north on Blanding at Blairmore Boulevard, where the chase ensued.

When the deputies turned on their sirens and flashing lights, the driver of the van swerved onto the sidewalk to go around a red light, then continued northward, running the three other red lights before jumping the median on Blanding and heading west on Collins Road.

From there, the van headed north on Shindler Drive to 103rd Street. After driving a short distance eastward, the van made a U-turn and headed back toward the west. After running over the spike sticks and blowing out three tires, the van continued another half-mile before finally coming to a stop. …

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