SEBRING — A 37-year-old Sebring man was charged with child abuse, without great bodily harm, after fleeing law enforcement officers. The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office tried to stop a Ford pickup truck around 7:13 p.m., Thursday, on Kenilworth Boulevard, according to a sheriff’s report. James Russell Hopkins failed to stop for a sheriff’s office unmarked vehicle with activated emergency lights and accelerated east on Kenilworth Boulevard, according to the report. The vehicle turned into an orange grove and became stuck. Hopkins had to be physically removed from the vehicle and he resisted as deputies tried to restrain him, the report shows. Two children, 2 and 6 years old, were inside the vehicle.
The reported noted that Hopkins intentionally fled from law enforcement at a high rate of speed and trespassed into an orange grove, which could have resulted in physical or mental injury to the children. In addition to the charge of child abuse without great bodily harm, Hopkins was charged with fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer and resisting or obstructing a law enforcement officer without violence. Hopkins was being held Friday at the Highlands County Jail with bond set at $13,000. firstname.lastname@example.org (863) 386-5826