Ormond Beach, FL – The search was on and then over quickly for a 27-year-old Ormond Beach man that Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Kim Montes stole a Good Samaritan’s vehicle after he stopped for an accident involving the man.
FHP reports that a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer, driven by Zachary Searls and a 2013 Chrysler van driven by Matthew Lepak of Nokomis, FL weres both traveling southbound on I-95 near the Flagler County line when the accident happened.
The report states that the car driven by Searls struck the rear of Lepak’s van at Mile Marker 276, causing both vehicles to leave the roadway and Searls car to crash into a tree, causing it to catch fire.
A Good Samaritan stopped to see if he could help and as he was exiting his pickup, Searls jumped into the truck and drove off. Troopers received information that VCSO had stopped the vehicle in Port Orange.
A Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy responding to the original accident issued a countywide alert for the stolen vehicle and the suspect. A records check on the Mitsubishi Lancer showed an address for Searls in Daytona Beach. Deputies went to the home and found the stolen pickup in the driveway.
As deputies approached the house, Searls came out the door and walked towards the truck. When he saw the deputies, he turned around and went back in the house. Searls was taken into custody. The victim was brought to the home, where he positively identified Searls as the man who took his truck.
Searls is now in the Volusia County Jail, where he remains on a $6,000 bond. He’s charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash with injuries, no valid driver’s license and resisting an officer without violence. Searls has a criminal record going back to at least 2011 in Volusia County.
FHP investigated the crash itself. The driver of the second vehicle was transported to Halifax Health Medical Center with what are considered non-life-threatening injuries.
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