Man accused of hitting Flagler deputy during traffic stop turns himself in

Suspect already released on bond, sheriff says

By Brianna Volz - Web producer, Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

Rahim Booker, 23. (Image: St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - A man who was on the run Monday after he punched a deputy then fled a traffic stop is now free again after turning himself in and being released on bond, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Rahim Booker, 23, turned himself in to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Monday night after fleeing the traffic stop around 1:45 a.m. on Palm Harbor Parkway and Farmsworth Drive.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Search on for 'poison peddler' who fled traffic stop in Flagler, deputies say]

Authorities said they pulled over the driver, 19-year-old Ty-Lee Austin, and Booker, the passenger, because the vehicle was following too closely behind another vehicle. Both of the men were asked to step out of the vehicle after a K-9 alerted on the car, the report said.

Booker immediately began reaching inside his pockets even after deputies told him not to, then he grabbed a small black backpack, intentionally hit a deputy and ran away, according to authorities.

A search was conducted in the area for two hours. Booker was not located.

A metal spoon with a substance on it that Austin claimed was ice cream, but actually tested positive for mephedrone, was found in the car along with a Mason jar containing 8 grams of marijuana, a news release said. 

Austin was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana 20 grams or less, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of cathinone.

Deputies said Booker has been arrested in the past on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of a hallucinogen with intent to sell.

“This is a poison peddler who has obviously learned nothing from his previous arrest,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said Monday. “For whatever reason, he thought it was a better idea to fight our deputies and run. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured last night."

Warrants for Booker's arrest were issued on charges of failure to obey a police officer, resisting an officer with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer, authorities said.

Booker arrived at St. Johns County Sheriff's Office with a bail bondsman Monday night and was booked into jail before being released on $11,000 bond, according to an updated news release.

"I am glad he decided to turn himself in," Staly said after Booker's arrest. "Unfortunately, the bond was low enough that he is already out. Now we wait for the court process to begin so that he can face his charges."

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