• Madison County Sheriffs Office

Man Hunt in Lee Leads to Two Arrest

Major David Harper of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at approximately 8:30 A. M., Deputy Scott Newman conducted a traffic stop on a dark colored four door sedan on C. R. 255 North near the intersection of Kel Lane. Deputy Newman contacted the driver and identified him as John Wade Needham Jr of Jennings, Florida. Deputy Newman began to take enforcement actions for the traffic violation when he was informed by Communications that Needham had an active arrest warrant for previous traffic violations. Deputy Newman instructed Needham to exit his vehicle however Needham put the vehicle in gear and accelerated nearly striking Deputy Newman. Needham turned onto Kel Lane at a high rate of speed and Deputy Newman initiated pursuit with his blue lights and siren activated. Needham continued to flee to the end of Kel lane where he drove his vehicle through a fence and wood line causing the sedan to become disabled. Needham exited his vehicle and fled on foot in a Southeasterly direction.

Multiple deputies responded to the area to include several deputies who were off-duty at the time. A perimeter was established and K-9 was deployed to track Needham. The K-9 track led deputies across multiple fences and fields in a direction toward the Lee Jiffy Store. Staff Sergeant Mike Maurice was monitoring the Lee Jiffy Store in an unmarked vehicle when he observed a Gold Lexus pull into the parking lot driven by a female and occupied by a small child. As soon as the Lexus parked Staff Sergeant Maurice observed Needham exit the wood line near the Jiffy Store and enter the Lexus. The driver of the Lexus (later identified as Lauren Nicole Owensby) left the store driving West on U. S. 90 before turning North onto C. R. 255. Staff Sergeant Maurice followed the Lexus to a residence located near N. E. Peach Tree Street while notifying on-duty deputies of his location.

Multiple deputies converged at the residence and were able to take Needham and Owensby into custody without further incident.

“I commend the efforts of all of our deputies during this incident. There were at least four deputies who were off-duty at the time but chose to respond. Through coordinated team work the suspect along with an accomplice was located and arrested. The dedication and commitment to our community by these deputies brings great credit upon themselves and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.” Major David Harper


John Wade Needham Jr 09/11/1976 Jennings, FL

1. Flee / Attempt to Elude 2. Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer 3. Resist Officer 4. DWLS with Knowledge 5. Arrest Warrant

Lauren Nicole Owensby 11/24/1987 Jacksonville, FL

1. Aid Escape 2. Child Abuse


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