BEAR CREEK, Fla. (WMBB) – Local law enforcement got involved in a high-speed chase this afternoon with a man suspected of stealing a truck.

The pursuit began after the Bay Real Time Operations Center, or BAYROC, alerted deputies to the presence of a stolen pick-up truck. The deputy spotted the truck around noon Thursday on southbound 231.

“Turned it out to being stolen from Georgia,” said Lieutenant Clayton Crosby with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. “The tags were stolen from here.”

During the short pursuit, deputies said the suspect fled at high speeds and then turned onto Veal Road in the Bear Creek area.

Authorities said the driver tried to ram two patrol cars but missed. Officers said he then turned on Heather Lane, which is a dead end.

“The truck came and had nowhere else to go,” said Lieutenant Crosby. “So, he stopped, bailed out on foot.”

Multiple deputies, investigation teams, air units, and k-9 units responded to help catch the suspect. The officers believe he was armed with a firearm but dropped it somewhere along the way.

The deputies followed him into water-filled clay pits, where deputies said the suspect jumped into the water.

“Got a perimeter set up. We eventually went into the water,” said Lieutenant Crosby. “Several deputies and investigators went into the water to apprehend the vehicle.”

Authorities said the suspect initially refused to give his name to deputies.
He is now identified as 44-year-old James Henry Lee III from Lamar County, Georgia.

Lee is now facing a number of charges. Paramedics took Lee to the hospital for treatment. He’s expected to recover.