Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pursuit ends with capture in Flagler County

BROOKSVILLE — Authorities captured a Pasco County man in Flagler County on Tuesday, ending a frantic coast-to-coast pursuit that started earlier in the day when he abducted his wife at gunpoint near Brooksville, according to authorities.

Randolph Mark Moats, 39, of Lacoochee was caught about 4 p.m., only minutes after dropping off his estranged wife at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine and leading authorities on a brief car chase. Flagler County deputies finally arrested Moats when he abandoned his car and tried to run off.

Authorities said Donna Sue Moats, 35, was being treated at Flagler Hospital for a gunshot wound in her torso. They were unsure of her condition as of Tuesday evening.

"We did a very preliminary discussion with her before (doctors) rushed her to the emergency room," said Sgt. Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. "But she did in fact give us a description of vehicle. And that helped us to put our deputies on alert to be on the lookout for him in the area."

The Hernando Sheriff's Office said the pursuit started about 11 a.m. in the area of Cyrano Avenue, northeast of Brooksville.

Witnesses told authorities that Randolph Moats forced his wife into his green 1994 Jeep at gunpoint. Donna Moats called her daughter to tell her that she had been shot and needed assistance, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Randolph Moats was able to elude authorities for several hours before taking his wife to a hospital more than 130 miles away — nearly to the other side of the state — with a gunshot wound, authorities said.

Moats told hospital personnel that his wife had been shot near Daytona Beach and waited until she was taken away to the emergency room, Mulligan said. Once Moats had left the hospital, Donna Moats revealed that it was her estranged husband who had shot her and that he had taken her away at gunpoint earlier in the day.

Mulligan said deputies soon tracked down Randolph Moats near Interstate 95 and State Road 207, not far from the hospital. A St. Johns deputy followed Moats for a few minutes before turning on his lights and sirens, Mulligan said.

Moats then tried to speed off, driving at nearly 105 mph and avoiding stop sticks set out by authorities. The chase lasted about 10 minutes and went into nearby Flagler County, where deputies there were finally able to catch him.

Moats remained in custody in the Flagler County jail as of Tuesday evening, Mulligan said. It wasn't immediately clear what charges he might face.

"We have began the process of connecting the dots," Mulligan said. "Right now, we're trying to determine in which county that (Donna Moats) was shot."

Neither Randolph Moats nor Donna Moats have a criminal record in Florida. Records show the couple was married in Pasco County in 1988, when Randolph Moats was 19 and Donna Moats was 15.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Joel Anderson can be reached at or 754-6120.

Pursuit ends with capture in Flagler County 07/01/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2008 5:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Vision Zero plan to make Hillsborough roads safer to be unveiled


    TAMPA — Vision Zero, the coalition trying to make Hillsborough County safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, is set to unveil its action plan on Tuesday morning.

    Members of the Vision Zero workshop cross Hillsborough Avenue and Kelly Road during a on-street audit of Town 'N Country roads in January. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site


    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  4. Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, center, attends a hearing on Monday Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. The hearing was requested by attorneys representing John Houde, left, who filed a motion to invalidate the sale of a $458,000 Redington Beach condo, a deal orchestrated by Skelton, who stands accused of deliberately misleading bidders in a the June 8 foreclosure auction. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  5. Sarasota GOP names Dick Cheney 'Statesman of the Year'


    Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be honored as "Statesman of Year" by the Sarasota GOP, a title that twice went to Donald Trump.

    Dick and Liz Cheney