OKEECHOBEE — A man and woman were arrested by a narcotics task force detective on felony drug charges after a brief chase late Thursday afternoon in the southwest section of the county.
The driver of the fleeing vehicle, Justin Lee Harris, was arrested after a brief foot chase and a woman in the car with him was arrested when 8 grams of suspected methamphetamine was found on her during a body cavity search.
Harris, 34, S.W. 18th St., Okeechobee, was arrested Feb. 18 on felony charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer.
He was also arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana under 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting a law enforcement officer without violence.
He was booked into the Okeechobee County Jail on a bond of $11,500. Jail records indicate he has been released on bond.
Courtney Ellen Rediker, 27, N.E. 10th St., Okeechobee, was charged with the felonies of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and introduction of contraband into a county detention facility. She was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.
She is being held on a bond of $10,500.
According to the detective’s arrest report, he tried to stop the 2003 Jaguar being driven by Harris after it ran a stop sign Thursday around 5:19 p.m. at the intersection of S.W. 15th Street and S.W. Fifth Avenue.
Even though the detective activated the emergency lights on his unmarked vehicle, Harris reportedly failed to stop. Harris, continued the report, continued east bound on S.W. 17th Street and ignored the detective’s lights and siren.
Harris then turned south on U.S. 441 South where he “… quickly changed lanes before cutting off northbound traffic and rapidly accelerated into a parking lot,” stated the report. Harris apparently sped through the parking lot of the unnamed business then drove around behind the building, where he got out of his car and began to flee on foot.
Harris was found hiding behind a tree and was taken into custody without further incident, added the detective.
When the detective returned to the Jaguar with Harris, other deputies were holding Rediker and another man who was also a passenger in the vehicle.
OCSO Deputy Bart Potter and his K-9 Kiki were called and once they had arrived the K-9 performed a free-air of the vehicle. Kiki, stated the arrest report, gave a positive alert to the car.
During a subsequent search of the vehicle a smoking pipe was found in a compartment in the driver’s side door that was filled with a substance that had not yet been burnt. When tested, that substance allegedly yielded a positive result for the presence of pot.
A residue was also found on a jewelry box that was located on the floorboard in front of the driver’s seat. When that residue was tested, continued the detective, that test indicated a positive result for the presence of meth.
Rediker and the other male passenger in the Jaguar were both searched.
When nothing was found on that male passenger, he was released.
Okeechobee City Police Department Officer Kelley Margerum then searched Rediker and reportedly found an uncapped syringe in the crotch of Rediker’s pants. At that point the woman was placed under arrest and taken to the county jail.
Because there was a chance Rediker was still hiding something, the jail refused to accept her. She was then taken to the Raulerson Hospital emergency room, where medical staff did a body cavity search and allegedly found: three plastic baggies containing suspected methamphetamine; a contact lens container that held suspected meth; a syringe cap; and, other plastic baggies.
All of the suspected meth was tested, and those tests both indicated positive results for the presence of methamphetamine.
The detective indicated the suspected meth in the three plastic baggies weighed a total of 8 grams.
Rediker was then taken to the county jail.
Harris, continued the detective’s report, was issued traffic citations for a window tint violation and for running a stop sign.
Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News