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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Test drive leads to arrest after woman flees from Marion corporal in minivan

A 34-year-old Silver Springs woman who was test driving a minivan with no license plate was arrested after she allegedly fled from a Marion County Sheriff’s Office corporal.

On Thursday, an MCSO corporal and a deputy trainee were on patrol near the 1100 block of SE 170th Avenue in Silver Springs when a Dodge minivan was observed on the roadway. The corporal noted in the arrest report that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt and the vehicle did not have a license plate.

The corporal began heading towards the minivan in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop, and the vehicle “took off at a high rate of speed.” The report stated that the vehicle appeared to travel around 50 to 60 miles per hour on a rough dirt road, and the corporal activated the patrol car’s emergency lights and sirens as the minivan turned onto SE 10th Street.

In the report, the corporal noted that the minivan proceeded to turn onto SE 173rd Avenue before coming to a stop in the 17300 block of SE 11th Street.

The corporal made contact with the driver, identified in the report as Anna Marie Thomas. She informed the corporal that she “ran” because the vehicle was not registered.

Anna Marie Thomas
Anna Marie Thomas

The report stated that a male passenger was in the front seat, and he told the corporal that the minivan was in his name. He added that he never registered the vehicle at the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.

The passenger stated that Thomas was “test driving the vehicle to buy it.” He further advised that he told Thomas that “she was not going to outrun the cops in that vehicle” during the pursuit, and he told her to “just pull over.”

After being read her Miranda rights, Thomas told the corporal that she had observed the patrol car “turning around” at the stop sign located at SE 170th Avenue and SE 11th Street, but she claimed that she did not see the patrol car’s flashing lights or hear the sirens. She also stated that the passenger told her to “drive extremely fast” over the rough road due to it being a “smoother ride,” according to the report.

The corporal noted in the report that a computer search of the minivan revealed that it has not been registered, and it does not have a license plate assigned.

Thomas was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and she was later released on $2,500 bond. She is facing a felony charge for fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer and a misdemeanor charge for failing to register a motor vehicle.

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.