POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A deputy in Florida led his peers in a vehicle chase on Sunday. He was eventually taken into custody and subsequently resigned, according to officials with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Jakob Kite, 22, was identified by authorities as the man who tried to recklessly evade deputies. He originally worked as a Polk County detention deputy before becoming a regular field deputy earlier this year. He was arrested on Sunday and immediately tendered his resignation in lieu of termination, the sheriff said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office provided the following investigative overview in a press statement:
22-year-old Jakob Kite of Polk County was arrested early Sunday morning after his speed was measured over 100 miles per hour, he refused to pull over for a traffic stop, and fled from deputies. Kite was hired as a Polk County detention deputy trainee in February of 2020, and later became a deputy sheriff assigned to the southwest district in April of 2023. He resigned after he was arrested.
At approximately 12:06 a.m. Sunday morning, September 4, Polk County Sheriff’s Office traffic deputies were conducting traffic enforcement on US Hwy 98 South on traffic travelling in the area of Smith Lane near Lakeland. A deputy clocked a vehicle (Subaru Impreza) travelling south on Hwy 98 towards Bartow at 105 mph in a 60 mph zone. Another deputy later clocked the vehicle between 114 mph and 117 mph utilizing a laser speed enforcement device. Deputies began attempting to catch up to the vehicle to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle continued onto Lyle Pkwy in Bartow, then onto EF Griffin Rd and travelled north towards Hwy 540A. While travelling on EF Griffin Rd and still attempting to catch up to the vehicle, one of the traffic deputies clocked the vehicle at 130 mph in a 45 mph zone using moving radar.
The deputies initiated a traffic stop on EF Griffin Rd as the vehicle neared Hwy 540A, utilizing emergency lights and siren. The driver of the vehicle refused to stop. Deputies observed the vehicle go through the stop sign at EF Griffin Rd and Hwy 540A, veering to the left. As the vehicle attempted to go westbound on Hwy 540A, it struck the concrete median separating westbound and eastbound lanes of travel on Hwy 540A, causing damage to the front tires of the vehicle. The vehicle was able to get into the westbound lanes, and at one point swerved towards one of the deputy’s patrol vehicles in an aggressive manner, almost striking his patrol vehicle. The vehicle continued westbound on Hwy 540A, and the deputies initiated a pursuit.
After several attempts, one of the deputies successfully conducted a PIT maneuver (Precision Immobilization Technique) that disabled the fleeing vehicle.
The suspect was taken into custody after initially refusing to exit his car. Kite appeared to be impaired/intoxicated. Kite was transported to the Sheriff’s Processing Center where breath samples were taken. Kite’s breath alcohol level was determined to be .035 G/210L and .034 G/210L. A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluated Kite and a urine sample was taken.
Kite was charged with Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting without Violence, Resisting with Violence, Fleeing to Elude, Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Property Damage, Reckless Driving, and DUI. Kite was also issued citations for multiple driving infractions, including four speeding tickets (130 mph in a 45 mph zone / 105 mph in a 60 mph zone / 90 mph in a 45 mph zone / 60 mph in a 45 mph zone) and running a Stop Sign (2).
Never one to mince words, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “This kind of driving and reckless behavior is unacceptable for any responsible citizen, let alone a deputy sheriff.”
“It is hard to describe how disappointed and angry I am towards Kite’s dangerously stupid behavior. Had he not resigned, he would have been fired,” Judd confirmed. “We will absolutely hold him accountable for his criminal conduct. I appreciate and applaud our traffic deputies for doing the right thing and taking Kite into custody.”