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WANTED MAN FLEES DEPUTIES

A boyfriend wasn't on the court docket, but an alert bailiff discovered he had an outstanding warrant.

It was mid morning Wednesday, and Jeffrey Carl had just settled down with his girlfriend among the oranges trees that grow next to the county courthouse along busy Little Road.

As the homeless couple snacked on the fruit, a long-haired man blazed past on foot. Just as suddenly, he disappeared into the trees.

Then a uniformed deputy ran up, Carl said, asking where the man went. And the chase was on.

Sheriff's and court officials said later the running man was Daniel Keith Williams. He came to court Wednesday with his girlfriend, who had a hearing before Circuit Judge William Webb.

Williams, 33, wasn't on a court docket himself. But he had an outstanding warrant, accused of violating probation.

He had been meandering in and out of the courtroom, sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said, prompting a bailiff to check his name in the court database.

That's when the warrant was discovered.

It also caught the notice of Williams' girlfriend.

"She sees a deputy walking toward him. She yells out 'Run, you have warrants,' " Tobin said. "And he ran."

Deputies and bailiffs caught up to him in minutes, about a half-mile north of where the chase began.

Tobin said Williams had been released from a hospital a day earlier and his arm was in a sling. Deputies took him back to the hospital for a routine check. He was expected to be booked into the county jail later Wednesday.

Carl and girlfriend Julie Martinez said they were relieved the deputies weren't after them.

"I thought the cops were going to get us for eating oranges," Martinez said.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

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