'I wasn't even driving': Fleeing driver exclaims to FL deputy following chase
A regular traffic stop in Dunnellon turned into a felony traffic stop after the driver fled and was then found with 85 grams of marijuana on June 16.
The driver, 34-year-old Christopher North, initially pulled over for Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Deputy Robert Bosnyak but then sped off -- a chase ensued.
After a short time, North stopped again and the deputy pulled out his firearm, which can be seen in Bosnyak's body camera footage.
In the video, a passenger in the fleeing car jumped out with his arms raised when North came to his final stop.
"Get away from the car," Bosnyak yelled at the passenger. "Get over there!"
The MCSO deputy then turned his attention to North, who was sitting in the driver's seat still. Bosnyak ordered him to remain in the car, so additional deputies could arrive and help.
"Show me your hands! Exit slow," the deputy shouted. "Face away! Walk back to me!"
North began walking backwards -- hands raised and pants falling down -- to the deputy and was taken into custody.
In body camera footage, a plastic baggie can clearly be seen in the driver's seat of the car.
While North was handcuffed in the backseat of a patrol car, a deputy read him his rights, and as soon as the deputy finished, North blurts out "I wasn't even driving."
"You weren't driving? You came out of the driver's seat," the deputy replied bluntly in response.
Caught in an apparent lie, North quickly explained in the body camera footage that he was just trying to find a safe spot to pull over, not flee from the deputy.
The suspect then confessed he doesn't know how to drive and doesn't have a license. The deputy, in disbelief, told North that he could've just gotten a ticket, and he probably won't be the only person pulled over that afternoon without a license.
Sticking to his story, North again told the deputy he was trying to find a safe spot to pull over.
The deputy jokingly told him one day they can watch his dash camera video to see if that was true. Then, the MCSO deputy brought up the 85 grams of marijuana found in the car.
"What's the bag full of stuff on your driver seat," the deputy asked North.
"I don't know," North explained.
"OK, alright," Bosnyak said.
The driver who claimed he wasn't driving is charged with fleeing law enforcement, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and driving without a valid license.