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Rotonda man facing multiple charges after wild chase

Christopher Wayne Sherrod is being held without bond on multiple charges after leading Charlotte County deputies on a high-speed chase through two counties.

Christo­pher Wayne Sher­rod is being held with­out bond on mul­ti­ple charges after lead­ing Char­lotte County deputies on a high-speed chase through two counties.

By Deb­bie Bowe

Char­lotte Co. Sheriff’s Office

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – A stolen vehi­cle.  A stolen gun.  An armed bur­glary to a busi­ness.  Attempts to ram patrol cars.  A pur­suit across the county.  And, finally, an arrest.

That was the order of busi­ness for sheriff’s deputies early Fri­day morning.

From the law enforce­ment point of view, it all started just after mid­night when a deputy spot­ted a white Ford Escape trav­el­ing at a high speed on Sun­ny­brook Boule­vard in the Engle­wood area.  The offi­cer clocked the vehi­cle doing 56 mph in a 35 mph zone and tried to pull it over.  Instead of stop­ping, the vehi­cle con­tin­ued a high speed.  As soon as the deputy got the tag num­ber, he dis­con­tin­ued the pur­suit and lost sight of the Escape.

A short time later, another deputy spot­ted the same Escape trav­el­ling on Gulf­stream Boule­vard with­out any lights on. When that deputy tried to stop the SUV, its lights came on and it sped up. Again the deputy stopped the pur­suit, but was able to see that the tag num­ber was the same.

Deputies checked with the reg­is­tered owner of the Escape and learned that the owner’s daugh­ter usu­ally drove it. While a deputy was try­ing to con­tact the daugh­ter, a third deputy spot­ted the Escape at a gas sta­tion on South McCall Road. While this deputy was pulling into the park­ing lot, the Escape pulled out at a high rate of speed. While the deputy in his patrol car was sit­ting sta­tion­ary at an inter­sec­tion, the Escape drove directly at the patrol car, only veer­ing off at the last second.

By about 2:30 a.m. deputies were able to con­tact the vehi­cle owner’s daugh­ter, who said that the Escape, along with a hand­gun and her debit card, were miss­ing from her house. The vic­tim said she had let Christo­pher Wayne Sher­rod, 24, of 61 Mark Twain Lane in Rotonda West, stay at her house overnight. When her mother woke her up, she found that Sher­rod and the vehi­cle were missing.

Around this same time, a key holder was called for an alarm at a busi­ness in Grove City. The clerk found the front door glass shat­tered. Dur­ing the later inves­ti­ga­tion by detec­tives, they reviewed sur­veil­lance video that showed a white Ford Escape pull up to the store just before 2:30 am. The dri­ver was seen with a hand­gun tucked in his front waist­band as he broke out the door glass.  He took sev­eral packs of cig­a­rettes and lot­tery tick­ets before get­ting back into the Escape and dri­ving away.

Yet another deputy spot­ted the same white SUV head­ing east on South McCall Road, doing 78 mph in a 45 mph zone.  While that deputy was in the process of try­ing to turn around, the Escape swerved into the deputy’s lane. The deputy was able to avoid the collision.

The vehi­cle was spot­ted again later on Beach Road in a park­ing lot with the dri­ver stand­ing out­side. As deputies began to approach the area, the dri­ver jumped back into the Escape and began to flee the area. Deputies attempted to use stop sticks to stop the vehi­cle, but it con­tin­ued to drive away into Sara­sota County.

How­ever, a short time later, it drove back into Char­lotte County and deputies could see that it had at least one flat tire. The vehi­cle fled east on McCall and crossed the El Jobean bridge where another set of stop sticks was used. The SUV con­tin­ued at high speeds even though parts of the tires were begin­ning to break off.

Stop sticks were used a third time as the vehi­cle went through the area of Veteran’s Boule­var. and Peach­land Boule­vard, but it con­tin­ued to flee onto I-75 south­bound. Dri­ving on three bare rims, the vehi­cle exited I-75 onto U.S. 17, through Punta Gorda and headed south on U.S. 41.

Finally the Escape had mechan­i­cal fail­ure to the point it could no longer be dri­ven. It came to a stop in the area of U.S. 41 and Tucker’s Grade, south of Punta Gorda.

Deputies took the dri­ver, Sher­rod, into cus­tody. He was booked into the Char­lotte County Jail on two counts of Aggra­vated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on Law Enforce­ment, Flee­ing to Elude, Armed Bur­glary, Grand Theft, Pos­ses­sion of a Firearm by a Con­victed Felon, Theft of a Motor Vehi­cle, Theft of a Firearm, Fail­ure to Reg­is­ter as a Con­vict Felon and Vio­la­tion of Probation.

He is being held with­out bond.

Editor’s note: While we usu­ally rewrite Sheriff’s Office press releases to some degree, Ms. Bowe’s  after-hours work on this one deserved to run as sub­mit­ted, with minor copy edit­ing.

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