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Video shows reckless driver crashing near construction crew after fleeing traffic stop, deputies say

Cody Allen Nance faces multiple charges after accused of evading law enforcement at speeds of 100 mph
Posted at 4:35 PM, Apr 25, 2024

PALM CITY FLA. — A construction crew narrowly escaped the path of a reckless driver, highlighting the tough balance law enforcement faces when deciding whether or not to pursue a fleeing suspect.

Cody Nance, 33, of Arkansas was arrested this week in Martin County after deputies said he fled law enforcement at speeds exceeding 100 mph, later crashing near a nighttime construction crew.

A video posted on the Martin County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page showed the dramatic end of the pursuit of the driver.

"We had probably as horrific a car chase as you could have, the kind that keeps you up at night in fear that fleeing car would kill an innocent bystander," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.

Chief Deputy John Budensiek said the incident started when a deputy tried to pull over Nance in the Jensen Beach area for a tag issue.

Budensiek said Nance took off toward Port St. Lucie driving recklessly at more than 100 mph, leading the deputy on a brief chase, before the deputy was forced to stop pursuing to protect public safety.

"Our deputy, because of our pursuit policy, was forced to terminate the ground pursuit," Budensiek said.

Budensiek said the sheriff's office helicopter kept following Nance from the sky.

Aerial video showed the car getting on the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Becker Road going the wrong way, narrowly missing another driver.

The car then continued speeding back toward Martin County and headed directly toward the intersection of Martin Highway and Citrus Boulevard in Palm City, where CWR contracting crews were paving the road.

Chief Deputy John Budensiek explains to WPTV reporter Kate Hussey the difficult balance taken to pursue suspects while keeping the public safe.
Chief Deputy John Budensiek explains to WPTV reporter Kate Hussey the difficult balance taken to pursue suspects while keeping the public safe.

"Our deputies had to reengage in order to stop the vehicle from careening into the construction crews," Budensiek said.

Budensiek said deputies tried to intercept the car by putting up stop sticks to pop the car's tires before it reached the construction site.

Trevor Pearson, a safety specialist with CWR Construction, said he received a call from a deputy warning him to clear out his crews.

"We’re really thankful for the sheriff's department," Pearson said.

Four minutes after Pearson said crews cleared out, aerial video showed Nance's car hit Stop Sticks, careen off the road and slam into a rented water truck.

"Due to his excessive speed, Nance overcorrected when he hit the stingers and slammed into a water truck while construction workers watched from the side of the road," the sheriff's office said.

Pearson said multiple workers could have been hit.

Trevor Pearson discusses the scary moments road crews experienced when the suspect crashed near their work site.
Trevor Pearson discusses the scary moments road crews experienced when the suspect crashed near their work site.

"There were probably 10-12 guys working that got to go home that night," Pearson told WPTV reporter Kate Hussey.

"Without their response, that might not have been the outcome?" Hussey asked.

"That's very well possible," answered Pearson.

Nance got out of the vehicle and was taken into custody by deputies. He was then taken to the hospital with injuries described as not life-threatening.

The sheriff's office said he faces charges of fleeing and eluding, driving with a suspended license, petit theft, failure to register a motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing and eluding, and breaking and entering parole violation.

None of the work crews or other drivers were injured during the incident.

It's perhaps a happy ending to a chase at a time when high-speed police pursuits are a hot topic on the Treasure Coast.

In the past year, three high-speed police responses led to the deaths of innocent bystanders.

The most recent happened in Stuart last week when a fleeing suspect led a Stuart police officer on a pursuit on U.S. Highway 1. The suspect hit a MARTY Bus, which slammed into another car and killed an innocent driver.

Police Chief Joseph Tuminelli told WPTV the officer, so far, appears to have been following protocol, but sat down with Hussey on Tuesday to talk about whether police pursuits are always necessary or appropriate.

"This [latest incident] kind of highlights how, when we follow our pursuit policies, that doesn't mean these criminals are just shutting it down also," Budensiek said.

"And had your deputies not re-engaged, this could have been a different scenario," Hussey said.

"They're still running at 100 plus mph through our county, continuing to endanger our community," agreed Budensiek.

Budensiek said it's a tough balance to strike, deciding whether or not to pursue a fleeing suspect.

He said while police pursuits often end badly, and always have, with more growth on the Treasure Coast, comes more cars on the road and more opportunity for an innocent bystander to get caught in the crosshairs of a car chase.

However, he said letting a fleeing suspect go often isn't the right option either.

"Our No. 1 goal is public safety, however, that looks," Budensiek said. "We have seen that not pursuing suspects only creates more people running here in the county."

"Is it safe to say you guys are looking at alternate methods of striking that balance, like your aviation unit?" Hussey asked.

"We have to strike a balance. We can't just let these guys run from us all the time, but we're also going to be extremely thoughtful in how we catch them," Budensiek said. "We've had enough bad outcomes where we're constantly reminded that this could happen here in Martin County to one of our citizens, one of our family members."

Budensiek said some of the alternatives the agency is looking at include pursuing with aviation units instead of with patrol cars. He also said using trucks to block the paths of fleeing vehicles is another alternative the agency is now utilizing.

Tuminelli told Hussey on Tuesday his department is also looking at potentially utilizing Stop Sticks in the future.