BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A fleeing driver who police said kidnapped his girlfriend from her job led law enforcement officers on a high-speed Interstate 95 chase before killing himself.
The incident forced the closure of I-95 near Scottsmoor early Tuesday.
Brevard County Sheriff's investigators said South Daytona police attempted to stop a car on Beville Road when the driver took off and began driving southbound on I-95.
According to investigators, the driver of the car fired shots at law enforcement officers.
Officers used stop sticks to disable the car near the rest stop about 6 miles south of Stuckway Road.
Investigators said the man then shot and killed himself.
Investigators said the pursuit started after the mother of a 26-year-old Elizabeth Rae Hamilton reported her missing from her job in Lakeland.
A statewide alert was issued for Hamilton's former boyfriend, Brett Lee Curtis, 28, who kidnapped her from her job, investigators said.
He drove to the coast where police said they picked up the trail in South Daytona, spotting Curtis' white Nissan Altima
in South Daytona around 3 a.m.
According to investigators, a South Daytona police officer didn't realize there was an alert out, but thought there was something unusual going on in the car, and began to follow. That's when Curtis drove off.
Investigators said Curtis called 911 several times during the pursuit and said if authorities didn't back away he would kill Hamilton.
"Yeah, I'm being followed by the police with his lights on. I am the gentleman from Lakeland. I have kidnapped my ex-fiancé. If he continues to follow me I will kill her. That is your final warning," Curtis said in one of the calls.
Hamilton was in the car's back seat, at one point telling a 911 dispatcher Curtis was armed with a shotgun, a rifle and a handgun.
"He's got a gun, he's got a 9 mm," Hamilton said.
"OK. Any other weapons in there?" asked the dispatcher.
"Yes," Hamilton said.
During one of the 911 calls Curtis fired shots at law enforcement officers, investigators said.
Those officers did not return fire, according to investigators.
After the car ran over the stop sticks, flattening all four tires and forcing it to stop, Hamilton was able to escape the car. That is when Curtis shot and killed himself, according to investigators.
"When the vehicle stopped an individual jumped from the vehicle and indicated they were being held against their will. Shortly thereafter, the driver appears to have taken their own life," said Lt. Mike Scully of the Brevard County Sheriff's Department.
Police from South Daytona and Edgewater, along with deputies from Volusia County and Brevard
County, were all involved in the incident.
Volusia County investigators praised the South Daytona officer for following the car.
"The officer, without a doubt, clearly, probably saved this person's life. Very heroic actions on the officer's part, and certainly should be commended for their actions," said Scully.
There were no reports of anyone else being injured in the incident.
Southbound I-95 was reopened at 7:45 a.m.
"We are not commenting on the case at this time as it is under investigation. We would like to express our deep gratitude and sincere thanks for the efforts of all law enforcement and security agencies who aided in the process which culminated in our daughter's safe return. We would also like to especially thank the officers and detectives of the Lakeland Police Department for their immediate response, steady determination, and exemplary manner in which they handled this matter," Robin Hamilton, Elizabeth Hamilton's mother said.