GPD: Would-be carjacker takes water truck on police chase
Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.
A Gainesville woman who tried to rob another woman of her car Monday afternoon was fought off and instead stole a nearby Culligan delivery truck, spilling bottles out the back as she sped away, police say.
The woman later was caught after a high-speed chase on Interstate 75.
Monday’s incident began at 3:30 p.m., the Gainesville Police Department reported, when a woman was walking to her car with her groceries in the Winn-Dixie parking lot on Southwest 16th Avenue. The woman was approached, police said, by Melody Bull, 33, who later gave her address as the St. Francis House.
Bull had her hand under her clothes and appeared to be pointing a weapon at the victim when she told the her, “Give me your car keys,” police reported.
“No, my children need this car,” the victim said, according to the police report. Bull then attacked the woman, trying to get her keys as the victim yelled for help, police said. As the women struggled, a Winn-Dixie manager and a man in the parking lot approached them and prevented Bull from getting the keys, the report said.
Police said Bull ran through the parking lot and fled west on Southwest 16th Avenue, when she spotted a Culligan water truck making a delivery at Oaks Pawn East. She jumped into the truck and began to speed off, spilling five-gallon bottles from the back as she made her getaway, GPD spokesman Ben Tobias said in an email.
A manager at Oaks Pawn East stood in front of the truck and tried to stop her, police said, but Bull drove at him, forcing the manager to jump out of the way. Bull also hit the manager’s car as she left the parking lot, causing extensive damage, Tobias said.
Police followed the truck west on Archer Road but were unable to stop her. Bull got onto I-75 and drove south. Officers pursued Bull, who was going 60-85 mph, until she pulled over at Mile Marker 376 and was arrested, Tobias said.
Bull was charged with a misdemeanor count of hit and run with property damage and three felonies: habitually driving with a suspended license, fleeing and eluding an officer with active lights and siren, and carjacking. She was being held Tuesday at the Alachua County jail in lieu of $27,000 bond.