PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The prosecution against a local defense attorney is moving forward, court records show.
On Monday, prosecutors filed formal charges against Billy Joe “Hoot” Crawford in a case that began with an interaction with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office on May 6.
According to the agency, 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. Crawford and the child’s parents stopped cooperating with investigators and tried to leave, deputies 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 arrested and charged at that time
On Monday formal charges written by prosecutors, known as the information, were filed in the case. Crawford is charged with interfering with custody, tampering with a witness, victim, or informant, leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, and reckless driving.