Lake Wales, Florida – On October 7th Lake Wales Police Responded to a report of a stolen pick up truck. The victim was a local young lady that had parked the truck near the Kohl’s Department Store and The Holiday Inn in Lake Wales. They eventually were able to locate the truck and apprehend a fleeing suspect, but not before he crashed the truck into a retention pond and stole all of the young ladies belongings.
Here is an excerpt from the Lake Wales Police Department arrest affidavit, the victims name has been removed and replaced with “victim”: On October 7, 2018 at approximately 2300 hours, I responded to the Holiday Inn Express in regards to a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, I made contact with the reportee, in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express. The victim advised me that her vehicle was parked at 2030 hours on the north side of Kohl’s department store. The victim vehicle is a 2001 Dodge Ram Ext. cab white in color. The victim said she last saw her truck at 2130 hours. The victim said when she checked on her vehicle at 2240 hours, the vehicle was no longer there. The victim said she remembered locking her truck doors. The victim also had her keys and the only other people who had keys were her parents. The victim made contact with her parents who advised they didn’t have the truck and that they still had possession of the truck keys. At the location where the truck was parked, there was no evidence of forced entry as in broken glass. The victim also advised that the vehicle was very low of gas.
Other officers and I went to the surrounding businesses in the attempt to recover video footage of the area. We also went to the gas stations in Lake Wales to see if a vehicle matching the description attempted to get gas but was negative in locating any footage.
The truck was then entered into CIC as stolen and a BOLO was sent out.
At approximately 0135 hours, Officer Elrod advised he was behind the stolen vehicle at the motel parking lot at Central Ave and Hwy 27. Officer Elrod activated his emergency lights and sirens. I responded to the scene and as I arrived, the driver of the stolen vehicle, later identified as Jason Nichols, was stopped and Officer Elrod was outside of his vehicle giving commands. Officer Elrod and I had our emergency lights activated. Moments later, the driver accelerated and fled south through the parking lot. I gave chase to the end of the parking lot where Nichols left the parking lot and drove into a retention pond. Nichols attempted escape came to a quick end when he crashed into a pine tree causing the truck to become inoperable. Nichols then jumped out of the truck through the passenger side and then fled on foot. I gave chase on foot and Nichols ran into the next parking lot and then into a retention pond. Due to the overgrowth of weeds and trees, I was unable to visually see Nichols. I drew my department issued firearm and began giving commands for Nichols to raise his hands and surrender. Nichols failed to comply with my orders. When Officer Elrod arrived, we walked into the retention pond and took Nichols into custody. I searched Nichols and located a glass pipe with a white crystal like substance inside of it. The substance inside the pipe was analyzed with a Sirchie #15 field examiner and received positive preliminary results for methamphetamine. Nichols was arrested and placed into Officer Meyers’ vehicle.
I returned to the truck and observed the passenger door lock had been punched. I looked inside the truck and on the driver side floor board was a flat head screw driver. The ignition to the truck had been busted where Nichols used the screw driver to crank the vehicle. I made contact with victim, and she advised that the screw driver was not hers and it was not in her truck when she parked it.
I checked Nichols information through DAVID and discovered Nichols’ license was revoked on September 21, 2005 and had four (4) prior convictions for DWLSR.
Nichols is being charged with the following;
-Grand Theft Motor Vehicle
– Possession of methamphetamine
– Possession of paraphernalia
-Resisting officer without violence
-Possession of burglary tools
– Flee Elude LEO with lights and sirens activated
– knowingly drive while license suspended or revoked 3rd or more times
-Leaving scene of crash with property damage.
Nichols was transported to Lake Wales Medical Center to be medically cleared. Nichols was later transported to Polk County Jail.
The suspect Jason Nichols, DOB: 9/6/1987, was out on bond awaiting a court date October 30, 2018 for his other Grand Theft Auto charges. The personal items of the victim were not located and the truck is potentially totaled. Nichols is currently in the Polk County Jail.
Editor’s Note: As the dad of a teenager with an older vehicle, this cannot just be replaced. Unfortunately if it was a good running vehicle it is essentially worth much more than the book value. Insurance just doesn’t cover the loss. Also the loss of the victims personal belongings is extremely sad! We are outraged at this type of case and our prayers are with the victim.