A St Johns County woman walking her dog on Vintage Oak Circle was approached by two men who demanded money from her at about 10:30 a.m. Friday morning, according to reports filed with Historic City News in St Augustine.
The attempted robbery began a chain of high-stakes events that would involve criminals, county law enforcement officers and state police, innocent bystanders and motorists, emergency medical personnel and two hospitals for more than an hour following the initial report.
Discrepancies in the reports obtained from St Johns County Fire Rescue spokesman Matthew Sara, St Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan, and a crash report filed by Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Shane Bryant, have delayed publication of this article.
The two attackers, one of whom was armed with a handgun, were identified as 26-year-old Dustin Layne Vann, and 18-year-old Zachary James Shull. Shull’s address is reported as 1309 Wiley Road in Caledonia, Mississippi; public records indicate three other members of the Shull family also use the address.
According to the sheriff’s report, Vann is a resident of Ft Lauderdale; however, according to booking reports at the St Johns County Detention Facility, he is homeless and living in St Augustine. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Vann was released from custody, three months ago, from Suwannee Correctional Institution in Live Oak. Vann is reported to be on supervised felony probation, through the Broward County office, since his September 1, 2012 prison release — continuing until July 31, 2017.
According to the victim’s statement, her assailants, joined by an awaiting female accomplice, made their escape in a silver-colored Toyota Corolla. Officers broadcast the description of the getaway car; which was later determined to be stolen.
One responding deputy, 35-year-old Richard Thurmond, was southbound on SR-13 in the Fruit Cove area with emergency lights and siren activated. According to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2000 Pontiac Bonneville was stopped, southbound, on SR-13; waiting to turn left onto Scott Road.
As Thurmond approached the intersection, he struck the Pontiac; driven by 53-year-old Stacey Pilinko. The force of the impact, to the right-rear of her car, caused the Pontiac to move forward, to the left, and across the intersection.
The patrol car continued on, to the right grass shoulder, coming to rest after striking a tree and fence. The front of the patrol vehicle was crushed in the collision and the deputy was trapped inside until he could be extricated by emergency medical personnel.
Thurmond was pinned in the vehicle for approximately 30 minutes, according to the county fire-rescue spokesman. Once he was freed, Thurmond was stabilized for transportation as a “trauma alert”, and taken to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center in serious condition.
There were conflicting reports regarding the civilian driver. Pilinko was said to be in “serious condition” and transported to Baptist Hospital South, according to the FHP crash report. Her 2000 Pontiac Bonneville sustained about $6,000 in property damage. The statement from Fire-Rescue reported that she was transported to Julington Creek Memorial with minor injuries.
FHP Sergeant Bryant reported that charges against the officer are pending a staff review of the evidence. Thurmond was wearing his seatbelt and alcohol was not considered a factor in the crash; which caused an estimated $20,000 in damage to the county-owned 2011 Ford Crown Victoria.
As all of this was occurring, deputies spot the getaway car at a convenience store in the area — the three fugitives reportedly seen inside. A pursuit ensued that ended when the driver of the getaway car swerved off the roadway and crashed the Corolla near the 10,600 block of CR-13.
As officers approached, Shull and Lindsay attempted to escape by fleeing into the woods. They were apprehended a short time later, according to Sergeant Mulligan. Vann split from the other two. A 9-1-1 call from a nearby CR-208 resident reported that his black Chevrolet pickup truck had just been stolen.
Vann was spotted, with the pick-up truck, a short time later, near the Outlet Mall; at a Kangaroo store on SR-16. He was taken into custody without further incident, Mulligan reported.
Vann is charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police, a first-degree felony; robbery, a first-degree felony; and vehicle theft, a third-degree felony. He has also been charged with three counts of violation of probation; for which he remains in custody without bond.
Shull and Lindsay have each been charged with robbery. Shull remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bond while Lindsay remains in custody in lieu of $25,000 bond.