UPDATE as of 12:45 p.m. — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office released more information about the incident Saturday morning.

According to BCSO, Crawford said he was representing a child involved in a sexual abuse case. The child, Crawford, and the child’s parents were present at the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center on Friday afternoon.

Crawford and the child’s parents stopped cooperating with investigators and tried to leave, BCSO said.

The Department of Children and Families reportedly then took the child into custody out of precaution, but Crawford allegedly took the child from the DCF investigator’s car and put her into his own vehicle.

BCSO said the DCF investigator tried to stop Crawford from driving away, but he backed his car into the investigator, reportedly causing injuries.

With the child still in his car, Crawford reportedly ran over curbs and grass to flee the parking lot.

Investigators stopped Crawford on Harrison Avenue. He reportedly locked the doors and would not let the girl out.

After around an hour of the traffic stop, he unlocked the doors, let the girl out and surrendered himself, according to BCSO.

Crawford was charged with interference with child custody, willful and wanton reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injured.

He was booked into the Bay County Jail Friday afternoon.

The injured DCF investigator was treated at a local hospital, according to BCSO.


Editor’s Note: The original story stated the interaction occurred at a different location. The article has since been updated.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A local attorney and former candidate for judge was arrested Friday afternoon.

Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Hoot Crawford after an interaction at the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center.

The Sheriff’s Office described the situation as being in its infancy stages and declined to share the nature of the charges against Crawford.

Crawford ran for judge in 2020 but lost out to incumbent Tim Campbell.