Deputies pull fleeing felon from burning vehicle

Scott Michael Beekman

Marion County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

MARION COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies rescued a convicted felon from a burning van after a pursuit ended with a crash, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office says.

Deputies received a tip on Sunday morning that a suspect only known as “Gold Teeth” was in a white van on his way to commit a home invasion robbery, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post about the incident. Deputies searched the area and found the vehicle and driver, who was later identified as 28-year-old Scott Michael Beekman.

Authorities said deputies attempted a traffic stop but that Beekman kept going, “driving recklessly and endangering other motorists” as he fled in the vehicle.

He “took multiple evasive measures” and led authorities on a pursuit before his vehicle sharply swerved off the road, hit a stop sign and a tree, then toppled.

The sheriff’s office posted video that shows the pursuit ending with the van running off the road. After a cloud of dust clears, flames can be seen rising from the site of the vehicle. 

Authorities said the van caught fire and that Beekman was trapped inside.

“Once deputies were able to break the front window of the van, Beekman was pulled out of the vehicle and taken into custody,” the sheriff’s office posted.

The video of the incident shows the rescue.

DEPUTIES SAVE SUSPECT FROM BURNING VEHICLE AFTER PURSUIT

DEPUTIES SAVE SUSPECT FROM BURNING VEHICLE AFTER PURSUIT On the morning of Sunday, April 23, 2017, Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputies received a tip that a white male suspect only known by the alias of “Gold Teeth” was enroute to an address in Summerfield, Florida, in a white Dodge van in order to commit a Home Invasion Robbery. Deputies began to search the area and located the subject vehicle and the driver, later identified at Scott Michael Beekman (DOB: 02/18/1989), in the parking lot of a convenience store located at SE Highway 47th Avenue and Highway 484. Beekman exited the location northbound on SE 47th Avenue, and deputies attempted a traffic stop, however, Beekman failed to stop. Beekman continued to flee, driving recklessly and endangering other motorists in the east and west bound lanes. A citizen motorist attempted to block the westbound lanes with his vehicle, which Beekman was able to avoid. Beekman took multiple evasive measures and led deputies on a pursuit on SE Highway 484 and then northbound on Highway 467. Beekman’s vehicle then swerved abruptly at the 13000 block of SE Highway 467, struck a stop sign and a tree, overturned and finally came to a rest on the driver’s side. Beekman was then entrapped in the vehicle and the vehicle caught fire. Deputies carefully advanced towards the vehicle and tried to extinguish the fire and safely extract Beekman from the burning van. Once deputies were able to break the front window of the van, Beekman was pulled out of the vehicle and taken into custody. Marion County Fire Rescue firefighters arrived on scene and extinguished the fire. Deputies searched Beekman’s vehicle and found a loaded short-barreled shotgun, a loaded .32 caliber pistol and a loaded sawed-off .22 caliber rifle. All of the loaded guns were located near the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Beekman is a convicted felon and also had a suspended license. Beekman was transported to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. He was later released and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was booked on the following charges: Fleeing with Disregard to Safety of Person or Property, three counts of Possession of a Weapon or Ammo by a Convicted Felon, Possession of a Short Barreled Gun, Rifle or Machine Gun and Driving While License Suspended or Revoked. “The deputies involved in the search, the pursuit and the rescue of this suspect performed their duties valiantly,” said Sheriff Billy Woods. “They not only prevented what could have been a major crime, but they also saved this individual’s life despite the danger involved. We are also thankful for the citizens who jumped into action to help our law enforcement. They are all heroes and we are proud to have these deputies serving the citizens of Marion County.”

Posted by Marion County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Authorities say Beekman had non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital before being booked at the Marion County Jail. 

Three loaded firearms -- a short-barreled shotgun, a .32 caliber pistol and a sawed-off .22 caliber rifle -- were found near the driver’s seat in a search of the vehicle. 

Beekman was charged with fleeing with disregard to safety; possession of a weapon or ammo by a convicted felon; possession of a short-barreled gun, machine gun or rifle; as well as driving with a revoked or suspended license, according to authorities.

The sheriff’s office said Beekman’s license was suspended and that he is a convicted felon.