Joseph Keith DeMarco

A man who was driving a stolen vehicle and fled from Marion County sheriff’s deputies was apprehend by a K-9 unit Monday morning.

A sheriff’s deputy said he was patrolling the 18000 block of E Hwy. 40 when he spotted a red two-door Jeep Wrangler that he knew had been reported stolen on Nov. 29. The deputy then ran the vehicle’s license plate and discovered that it wasn’t the correct tag assigned to the vehicle, a sheriff’s office report states.

The deputy started following the Jeep and activated his emergency lights and siren. The driver, later identified as 23-year-old Joseph Keith DeMarco, then made a right turn onto SE 188th Avenue and headed southbound at a slow rate of speed, the report says.

DeMarco eventually stopped in the 1400 block of SE 188th Avenue, “jumped” out of the vehicle and started running eastbound on SE 15th Street, the report says, adding that the deputy lost sight of him and several other units responded to help with the search.

Eventually, a K-9 deputy and his dog located DeMarco several blocks away, hiding under a car in the 1800 block of SE 190th Avenue. He was taken to the North Multi District Office, where he allegedly admitted to a detective that he stole the Jeep, the report states.

DeMarco also said that he saw the deputy following him with his lights and siren activated “but he decided not to stop.” And he admitted that he was aware his driver’s license was suspended for failure to pay traffic fines, the report says.

After a check of DeMarco’s driving history revealed that his license had been suspended since July 10, he was transported to the Marion County Jail and charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest without violence and knowingly driving with a suspended license. He was being held on $10,000 bond and is due in a Marion County courtroom on Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. to answer to the charges.