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Ocala

‘Sovereign’ Ocklawaha woman jailed after leading deputy on chase

Donna L. Stewart

An Ocklawaha woman was arrested after she allegedly refused to pull over for a Marion County sheriff’s deputy who caught her driving with a phony license tag on her vehicle.

Donna L. Stewart, 61, of 6595 SE 174th Court, was charged with fleeing a law enforcement officer with lights and siren active, operating a motor vehicle without a valid license, and failing to register a motor vehicle.

The deputy observed a white Ford Ranger truck traveling south on County Road 314A with a license tag on the rear bumper that read, “PR1V4T3.” The tag was not a proper license plate and is commonly used by “sovereign citizens,” a group of people who do not see themselves answerable to certain government statutes or proceedings.

After the vehicle turned eastbound onto SE 49th Street Road, the deputy activated his emergency lights and siren to alert the driver, later identified as Stewart, to pull over. Stewart refused to pull over and continued about three miles, making several turns, before turning into the driveway of her residence, according to the sheriff’s office report.

Stewart said she didn’t have a Florida driver’s license and the deputy fond a laminated card commonly carried by sovereign citizens.  A computer check showed Stewart’s license was suspended in January 2019 for financial obligations and it expired in February 2019. A scan of the vehicle’s identification number showed Stewart hadn’t registered it after purchasing it from another person. The registration for the vehicle was canceled in November 2019, the report said.

Stewart was taken to the Marion County Jail, where she was released on $3,000 bond.

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