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Santa Barbara Sheriff’s department catches an elusive, reckless driver after multiple incidents

GOLETA, Calif. - A high speed chase Wednesday was just one in a series of dangerous driving incidents the Santa Barbara Sheriff's department  says it's been involved in with suspect Gavin Honey.


They knew he had a suspended license but continued to drive his unique vehicle, a former police car, purchased legally,  and without the decals.It did have lights up front, a siren and radio equipment inside.


The 22-year old drove by motorcycle patrol officer Matt Dawson Wednesday on Cathedral Oaks Road.


Dawson tried to stop him,  but speeds quickly got up to 90-100 miles an hour towards Highway 154.


 Dawson said, "he had past one of our units,  2 1/2 miles down the road and he must have been driving over 100 miles an hour to reach that distance in that time that unit tried to turn around but couldn't catch up.   A citizen advised us he had turned up San Marcos Pass."

Once they learned Gavin Honey had gone up Highway 154, a swarming response  by the Sheriff's deputies, CHP, their K9 units and the Sheriff's chopper were quickly sent that way.


The vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria with the Police Interceptor package,  was located in a turnout on Painted Cave Road. When they looked inside it was empty.

Honey and his female passenger had apparently split up in the brush, going different directions.      
She was found  during the search and explained her side of the story, telling deputies she wanted to get out of the speeding car.


Dawson said she had been in touch with Honey who was still in the area.
"She had text communications from him,  at the scene telling her to run, to hide, there were helicopters in the area." said Dawson.

Honey was somewhere deep in the brush or down in a canyon, because he was not immediately found.


 During that  search, Honey reportedly called 911 and said he was in Santa Barbara and his car had been stolen.


Then a Painted Cave resident saw Honey, and had a conversation.   Honey asked for a call to be made to a family member.  The resident called the Sheriff's department instead and there was a swift response.


Dawson said, "he was disheveled, cut up,  he had no shoes and he looked really bad.  He told the citizen he was lost in the mountains and was hiking with friends."


The Sheriff's department had a unit there in three minutes, located Honey and he surrendered when faced with the Sheriff's deputy and a K9.


 Honey has been charged with vehicle code violations including  fleeing with willful disregard for public safety, driving on a suspended license  and the felony offenses of  false imprisonment and kidnapping.

He appeared in Santa Barbara Superior Court on the charges Friday morning.  His bail has been set at $500,000.


It's unclear if Honey ever used the lights and sirens. He was mainly known for high speed dangerous driving in multiple locations including in the Goleta Valley and the Santa Barbara Eastside.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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