SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Friday afternoon, Michael Austin jumped out of a moving car when law enforcement tried to pull him over on Highway 87. His car, with a female passenger and a special needs child in the back, crashed into a tree. Austin ran off into some woods, and now police are asking the community for help.
The most surprising think about this story though is who initiated the traffic stop. Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson was traveling on Highway 87 when he noticed a vehicle with an expired tag that also didn’t belong to that vehicle.
The driver of the car was identified as Michael Ray Austin. Sheriff Johnson initiated that stop on Buckeye Drive and Hwy 87. According to a report from the sheriff’s office, Austin kept driving down Buckeye with the driver door partially open. He bailed out of the car while it was still moving, and it crashed into some trees. He took off into a wooded area.
A female and a special needs child were in the vehicle as well. They were not injured.
Deputies searched the area with no results. Austin has 7 active suspensions on his driver’s license. Deputies applied for warrants to charge Austin with driving while his license is suspended, resisting arrest without violence, and child neglect.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for any information on his whereabouts. To call in a tip, the number is 850-437-STOP.