VERO BEACH, Fla. — A Florida man is accused of leading deputies on a chase and then throwing a 2-month-old child at a deputy, authorities said.
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff but this is definitely up there,” Indian River County Deputy Jason Curby told WPEC. “It wasn’t a nice underhand handoff from a foot away, it was a throw.”
John Henry James III, 32, of Vero Beach, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated child abuse, aggravated battery on an law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, reckless driving and resisting arrest with violence, according to Indian River County Sheriff’s Office online records. James was also cited for failure to drive within a single lane.
Dashboard camera and helicopter video released Friday showed the driver of a white Nissan Rogue sport utility vehicle, later identified as James, speeding through the town of Gifford with deputies in pursuit on May 26, WPTV reported.
After about 40 minutes of driving recklessly after an attempted traffic stop, James drove into an apartment complex where he was boxed in by deputies, WPEC reported.
According to the arrest report, James exited the vehicle and was holding a small child by its arm. The report noted that James “had his 2-month-old infant in the vehicle with him during the entire pursuit while he drove in a reckless manner to avoid apprehension.”
At the apartment complex, James ran through a breezeway, turned and threw his child at Curby, according to the arrest report.
“Deputy Curby successfully caught the infant and brought him to the front of the building,” the arrest report stated.
“It was kind of awkward. I couldn’t chase him, I couldn’t tackle him, not a whole lot I can do because he had the baby,” Curby told WPEC. “He just turned around, no regard, not a little toss or anything, he just turned around, overhand threw this 2-month-old at me from about 6 feet away.
“He’s just a cute little baby, fluffy hair, had a cute little outfit on,” Curby told the television, adding that the child was not hurt. “Luckily we were able to get the baby from him before he did trip and fall, or try to carjack somebody else.”
James was eventually taken to the ground by deputies. According to deputies, James kicked and bit at authorities as they tried to take him into custody, WPTV reported.
“You can’t throw a baby at us and expect us to treat you with kid gloves,” Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said in a statement.
Deputies said James, who complained of asthma, was taken to an area hospital, WPTV reported. After James was released Tuesday, he was booked into the Indian River County Jail.
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