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Armed man accused of leading deputies on chase

Chase ends in fiery crash

DeLAND, Fla. – A man is facing multiple charges after deputies say he attempted to assault two women and led authorities on a chase through DeLand Monday morning, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

The incident began around 8:30 a.m. when two women ran out of the woods near Tractor Supply Co. in DeLand and told a motorist that an armed man, possibly wearing a bulletproof vest, was trying to hurt them, according to a news release. One woman said Mark Sykora, 38, fired a gun at her and tried to hurt her, deputies said.

She told deputies that she was in a silver car with Sykora and his girlfriend as the couple was arguing about their relationship. Sykora pulled into the woods and ordered the women out of the car, an affidavit said. She said he got onto the roof of the car then jumped off and started chasing the women with a gun. 

Two shots were fired but no one was shot, deputies said.

Sykora was gone by the time authorities arrived, but they got a vehicle description and tag number. He refused to stop when DeLand police tried to pull him over near Glenwood Road and Grand Avenue, deputies said.

Police pursued the man but then backed off and allowed the Volusia County Sheriff's Office's Air One helicopter unit to take over the pursuit.

The vehicle pursuit lasted about 13 miles until Sykora lost control of the car and crashed it in the area of Division Street and Fonseca Lane, deputies said. Sykora got out of the car before it caught fire and made his way into the nearby woods, according to a news release.

Air One saw the man crawling on all fours, and a Lake County K-9 unit apprehend him around 9:30 a.m. Deputies said Sykora did not suffer any significant injuries from the dog bite.

The two women involved were not physically injured. One woman is cooperating with the investigation, but the other is not, deputies said. The gun has not been recovered.

Sykora is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and fleeing or attempting to elude. His arraignment is set for March 3.

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