A Florida deputy is counting his blessings after a traffic stop that could have left him killed or seriously injured. On October 11, deputies observed a black BMW, driven by Nicholas Smith, 21, driving erratically on Blountstown Highway.
Deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver continued to flee, endangering countless other drivers in the process. Smith nearly struck another vehicle head-on as he fled the police. After a brief, harrowing chase, the driver finally stopped. Deputies approached the vehicle, instructing Smith to turn off the car and ordering him to show his hands.
At that point, Smith accelerated the car and deliberately struck Deputy Tyler Epstein, knocking him into the path of oncoming traffic. While he was still on the ground, Epstein drew his service weapon and fired three shots at the BMW. One of the bullets struck Smith in the shoulder. Smith continued to flee, but was eventually stopped, placed under arrest, and taken into custody.
Epstein was treated for the scrapes and cuts he sustained when he struck the asphalt. Smith was treated and booked at Leon County Jail. He is facing charges of Aggravated Battery With A Deadly Weapon, Resisting Arrest With Violence, and Aggravated Fleeing With Injury or Damage.
Smith had not been arrested in Leon County prior to this incident. At the present time, authorities are not sure what Smith’s motive was for refusing to stop.
Epstein has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation.
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