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3 minors safe after high speed chase for burglary suspect in Jackson County

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 10:22 AM EDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) - A high-speed chase in Jackson County resulted in a 3-year-old child being thrown from the suspect’s vehicle.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies say the driver was blowing through stop signs in a chase that stretched about four miles.

It crossed several major intersections along Hwy 71 and Hwy 90, and that’s where investigators say the driver turned onto Old US Road before crashing.

The driver was identified as 22-year-old Domingo Morales Hamilton Fernando, a Guatemalan national.

JCSO deputies say they found a family inside the car along with Fernando.

Inside the car was a 17-year-old girl, who deputies believe is Fernando’s girlfriend and the mother of the two toddlers inside the car during the chase, a 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy.

JCSO says the 3-year-old boy was thrown from the vehicle when it crashed.

Residents in Jackson County say they are shocked this happened.

“I mean it just…it’s hard to hear that a father would endanger his kids like that,” said J.D. Riles.

“It bothers me, yes, cause I hate for anybody to have a child in the car in something like that,” said Terry Cook.

JCSO says federal agents have been looking for Fernando since 2014.

Fernando has been suspected of human trafficking in Jackson County.

“There are charges going to be brought on him, but I believe he’s got federal agents who were looking at him also for human trafficking. What he was doing was he was working for farms here and they believe he was bringing in other people for work,” said Captain Virgil Watson.

Watson says during the chase, they had no idea Fernando’s family was inside the car.

“We never would take anybody with kids, you know, in the vehicle if we knew they had kids,” said Watson.

After the crash, the 17-year-old mother and 2-year-old girl had minor injuries.

The 3-year-old boy, who was thrown from the car, was taken to the hospital for observation but is expected to be OK.

Fernando was taken to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in critical condition.

Once he is released from the hospital, he will go into ICE custody and is expected to be deported back to Guatemala.

You can read WCTV’s original story on this incident below.

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says three minors are safe after a high speed chase for a burglary suspect led to a car crash on Wednesday.

JCSO says the man drove off when they initially tried to talk to him, not far from the area of the burglary in Dogwood Heights.

Deputies chased the man a couple miles outside of Marianna. The suspect ran through multiple stop signs at major intersections in the area of Highway 71 near CVS and traveled at speeds well over the limit on Highway 90 towards the Chipola River Bridge, JCSO says. The suspect then turned at a high rate of speed onto Old US Road next to AutoZone, where investigators tried to initiate a traffic stop.

The suspect finally lost control of his car and crashed near the intersection of Dogwood Drive and Old Greenwood Road, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies say the man crawled out of the car, and he was taken into custody. Deputies say a 17-year-old girl also crawled out of the car, and they found a 2-year-old child standing in the back seat. Additionally, JCSO says deputies found a 3-year-old child had been thrown from the car into the grass.

The teen girl and two toddlers were “miraculously” unharmed, deputies say. They were taken to Southeast Alabama Medical Center as a precaution.

JCSO identified Domingo Morales Hamilton Fernando as the suspect in the burglary and chase. He was also taken to Southeast Alabama Medical Center, where he is in critical condition. Deputies were able to identify Fernando through the Department of Homeland Security, where he is wanted for being in the country illegally. He is also wanted in connection to human trafficking and smuggling, according to deputies.

Fernando has a warrant out for his arrest once he’s released from the hospital.

The sheriff’s office says they were unaware of the three minors in the car at the time of the chase. Sheriff Lou Roberts says he would not have allowed the chase to continue if he knew there were children involved. Again, all three minors were unharmed.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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