Police: Man charges at officer like football player to evade arrest


Published: Monday, September 23, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 23, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.

A Gainesville man who found himself between a fence and a police officer in hot pursuit Sunday made a quick decision that landed him in jail on multiple felonies -- he crouched down like a defensive end on a football team and charged the officer.

Nathaniel A. Heath Jr., 37, of 104 SE 39th St., was pulled over about 2:30 a.m. for speeding and failure to maintain a single lane, the Gainesville Police Department reported. Heath could not produce a valid ID, police reported, and when Officer Shawn Hardman asked him to put the car in park, he sped off.

Hardman began pursuing Heath with his lights and siren on and eventually caught up with him in a parking lot in the 800 block of Southwest Ninth Street, where Heath abandoned his vehicle and ran into a small, wooded area, police said. When Heath came to a fence he could not climb over, he turned toward Hardman, who was chasing him, and “took a stance as a football player when they are about to tackle someone,” police said.

Heath then ran at Officer Hardman and struck her in the left shoulder, nearly knocking her down, and kept running, police said.

Heath eventually was found hiding in a nearby apartment and was apprehended by a police K9. Beside him was a small pill bottle containing approximately 10 rocks of crack cocaine, police said.

Heath was charged with battery on a police officer, fleeing or eluding police, resisting arrest without violence, knowingly driving with a suspended license and possession of cocaine with intent to sell. He was booked into the Alachua County jail, where he remained Monday in lieu of $100,000 bond.

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