On Saturday, February 25, 2023, at approximately 3:17 p.m., Fort Walton Beach Police Officers initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Hughes Street and Oregon Drive for a traffic infraction.
- During the traffic stop, officers attempted to identify the driver.
- While speaking with him about his identity, officers reportedly observed drug paraphernalia in the driver’s door and a knife in the passenger seat.
According to the report, upon the observations, the driver was asked to exit the vehicle. Upon refusal, officers attempted to remove him from the vehicle, but the driver trapped one of the officer’s arms and placed his vehicle in drive.
As a backup officer attempted to free the trapped officer’s arm, they were both dragged with the vehicle, according to the report. The backup officer was able to free the first officers’ arm, however, he then found himself trapped as the vehicle rapidly accelerated and the driver had taken control of the officer’s shoulder microphone for his radio.
The driver allegedly stated to the officer, “You’re going to die today.”
According to the report, the driver directed his vehicle towards a power pole, lining the vehicle up for a head on collision and began striking the officer in the face. The officer was able to prevent the crash, by taking control of the steering wheel and then depressing the break with his foot.
- Upon the vehicle coming to final rest, backup units then deployed a Taser allowing officers to take the driver into custody.
- The driver was in possession of illegal narcotics and found to have outstanding felony warrants once he was identified.
This investigation is ongoing, but the 27-year-old driver, Antonio Betts, was charged with attempted felony murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, fleeing and eluding, possession of a controlled substance, false name while lawfully detained, resisting arrest without violence, and depriving law enforcement officer means of communication.
The officers and driver were treated at the Fort Walton Destin Medical Center for minor injuries.