21 Aug 2014
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Sarasota Man Racks Up Multiple Charges During 2 Police Chases

Man drove through Brentwood Elementary School playground, crashes into fence, and avoids injury students during chase, according to affidavit.

Sarasota Man Racks Up Multiple Charges During 2 Police Chases

A Sarasota man allegedly high on crack cocaine drove across Brentwood Elementary School playground Tuesday and committed multiple crimes within a 13-hour span, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

John Kaafi, 31, of 2517 Glebe Farm Close, was involved in two chases and multiple crimes in 12 hours starting Tuesday and was finally caught at shortly around 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff's office.

It all started at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when deputies attempted to stop Kaafi for speeding, but Kaafi instead decided to flee in his car, and Kaafi drove on school grounds, deputies called off the chase in fear a child would be struck, according to the sheriff's office.

While driving across the playground at Brentwood Elementary, Kaafi struck a fence, but did not injure anyone during the chase, and then backed onto Vinson Avenue to continue fleeing, according to the probable cause affidavit.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, a call came in for a battery in The Meadows development at Kaafi's home against a man, and then the mother of Kaafi's child reported that she was battered at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and told deputies that Kaafi was "high on crack cocaine and acting crazy" when Kaafi threw a chair at her, according to the affidavit.

At 4:40 a.m., deputies found Kaafi's car on Honore Avenue near Fruitville Road, and Kaafi again fled from police on eastbound Fruitville Road, reaching speeds of 80 mph on a 45 mph road, according to the affidavit.

A deputy attempted to place stop sticks on the road to flatten Kaafi's tires, but Kaafi drove over the median into oncoming traffic, and deputies called off the chase since he was endangering others on the road, according to the affidavit.

During the search on Dog Kennel Road, a deputy found a woman standing in the road and placed her in the patrol car to avoid being struck during Kaafi's chase, which had resumed after Kaafi turned onto Dog Kennel Road.

It turns out that woman was in the car as a passenger during Kaafi's Tuesday afternoon chase when he struck a fence at Brentwood Elementary, according to the affidavit.

That witness also told deputies that Kaafi was fleeing because he has drugs on him and thought he could get away, according to the affidavit. The two had taken a cab to a local hotel following the initial chase and she had also witnessed Kaafi battering the woman at his home where he had struck the victim with a chair, and the woman fought back to try to defend herself, the witness told the sheriff's office, according to the affidavit.

At 5 a.m., another witness told the sheriff's office that Kaafi broke into his shed on Fruitville Road and attempted to break into his car, according to the affidavit. The witness said Kaafi was fleeing into a wooded area behind his home, and K-9 in the area responded within minutes and had tracked and found Kaafi, according to the affidavit.

Kaafi, who has a lengthy criminal history, is currently charged with two counts of fleeing to elude, and one count each of burglary and attempted vehicle burglary, according to the sheriff's office.

Additional charges are pending.

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