FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - "He certainly was no NASCAR driver," Sheriff Rick Staly said on Tuesday morning, pointing to still-fresh mud tracks from a week earlier on the front lawn of a Palm Coast home.
"He's really very lucky he didn't kill himself or his girlfriend or both," Staly said.
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Staly said 19-year-old Jacob Reardon was racing through a quiet neighborhood and sped around a corner so fast he lost control, skidded sideways onto a lawn and launched off a culvert into a pickup truck parked in a driveway. The truck was struck so hard it was pushed off the driveway and into a fire hydrant.
Traffic Homicide Investigator Deputy Greg Nunziato said Reardon and his girlfriend survived the crash, and both ran from the car and hid in the neighborhood. Nunziato tracked them down, he said, and arrested Reardon on suspicion of leaving the scene of the crash and possession of cocaine.
"Obviously he's (Reardon) out of control. Obviously he's got a drug problem. He had cocaine in his wallet," Nunziato said.
Staly pulled over and arrested Reardon just weeks earlier in December on Interstate 95 on suspicion of driving recklessly.
"My speedometer was maxed at 112, there was nothing left in my car, and he was still pulling away from me," Staly said. "He told me he was on his way to let the dogs out. I told him that wasn't a good enough reason."
Months before that, in August, court records show Reardon was ticketed for driving 84 mph in a 40 mph zone.
A judge withheld adjudication and ordered Reardon to pay a $400 fine, Staly said.
After Staly arrested Reardon in the December incident, Reardon was freed after posting bail.
"And then two weeks later he's causing all this chaos in the neighborhood," Staly said. "He's a kid that's just not learning."
So Nunziato urged the state attorney to push to keep Reardon in jail until his court appearance.
"We don't want him to get out of jail and go hurt and kill someone, and that's the way he's going," Nunziato said. "I called the state attorney's office when they arrested him to make sure he wouldn't get out on bond."
The judge listened and denied bond, said Nunziato. Reardon is currently in the Flagler County jail.
"We're trying to make sure he learns a lesson by suffering some consequences for his actions," Nunziato said. "Treatment would be great, prison is probably where he needs to be for a little while."
Staly said the case is the latest example of a growing dangerous driving trend in Flagler County.
A record 31 people died last year on Flagler County roads, most of them in Palm Coast.
So Staly asked the Palm Coast City Council to fund five deputies dedicated entirely to stopping aggressive driving in Palm Coast.
The council agreed.
The five deputies are in training and will hit the road in February in Ford Mustangs.
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