BY JENNIFER CABRERA
ALACHUA, Fla. – James Ryan McDonald, 42, was arrested early this morning after a high-speed chase on I-75 in a stolen car.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper reported that he was stationary in the median of I-75 near mile marker 399 at about 11:00 p.m. last night, watching for a stolen vehicle that had been reported by Gainesville Police Department.
He reported that he saw the car at 11:23 p.m., going north, without its taillights on. He followed the car and confirmed that the tag matched the tag of the car that had been reported stolen, then turned on his lights to initiate a traffic stop.
He reported that the car accelerated to a speed of about 110 mph, at which point he turned on his sirens and began to pursue the car, which created a hazard by weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed with no taillights.
The driver tried to take the exit at mile marker 404 but lost control and ran off the road, colliding with a road sign and then a tree. The trooper shouted commands at the occupant of the vehicle to show his hands, but the occupant reportedly exited the vehicle through the right rear door and fled on foot to the exit.
Alachua Police Department officers joined the chase, and the driver, later identified as McDonald, was arrested. A search of the vehicle found multiple clear plastic baggies, a white crystallized substance, multiple needles, and a heating spoon.
McDonald was transported to the emergency room to be treated for his injuries and then booked into the jail.
McDonald was convicted of car theft in March of 2022 in a 2021 case and sentenced to 2 years of probation. He was arrested again in March of 2022 for leaving the scene of an accident without damage and sentenced to time served (21 days) at the same time the probation sentence was handed down. A sworn complaint was filed for a May 19 car theft, and that charge was entered as evidence that he violated probation.
In the current case, McDonald has been charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, driving without a valid license, fleeing police at high speed, resisting arrest without violence, possession of drugs, and possession of drug equipment. He is being held without bail on the probation violation and on $54,000 bail on the new charges.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.