A 23-year-old Ocala man known by the name “Strong” was arrested Wednesday night after leading Marion County sheriff’s deputies on a car and foot chase.
James David Woods Jr., 23, of 3320 SW 147th Place, was charged with fleeing/eluding law enforcement with lights and sirens active, resisting an officer without violence, driving with a suspended license, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.
Shortly before 10 p.m., a deputy observed a red 2010 Volkswagen Jetta with its taillights out in the area of SW Highway 484 and Marion Oaks Course. The deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop at the intersection when the vehicle turned left and headed northbound on Marion Oaks Course. The vehicle failed to stop for the deputy’s overhead lights, according to the sheriff’s office report.
The vehicle turned right onto SW 132nd Place and continued eastbound with the deputy following with overhead lights on. The vehicle then made a right turn and went south on SW 42nd Circle, then accelerated to approximately 50 mph in a 30-mph zone. The deputy followed the vehicle around two sharp curves before it stopped in the middle of the roadway in front of 13254 SW 42nd Circle, the report said.
The driver, later identified as Woods, got out of the car and fled on foot behind the residence. He was wearing a black sweatshirt, black sweatpants and tennis shoes. The deputy spoke with the passenger, Megan Clayton, who is the registered owner of the vehicle. Clayton said she didn’t know the driver’s name and that she only knew him as “Strong,” according to the report.
Deputies found Woods hiding about a quarter-mile away in a wooded lot next to 13275 SW 43rd Avenue Road. He said he was homeless and had not been driving recently. He denied every driving any vehicle. The homeowner at 13275 SW 43rd Avenue said he has been living there for 10 years and there have never been any homeless people living in the lot next to his residence, the report said.
Back at the location where the car stopped, Clayton identified Woods as “Strong” and said he was the one driving the vehicle. A computer check of Woods’ driving history showed three suspensions for failure to pay traffic fines, the most recent in January, according to the report.
While conducting an inventory search of the Jetta, a deputy found a pill bottle with the label scratched off on the floorboard of the driver’s seat. The bottle contained a green leafy substance that tested positive for marijuana, the report said.
Woods was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was being held Friday on $8,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Marion County Court on Dec. 10.