Sheriff releases some details about fatal patrol car theft
Sheriff Billy Woods held a press conference on Feb. 2 to share additional details on the theft of a patrol car the day prior that led to the death of three people.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods squarely placed the blame for three deaths Thursday on an alleged thief, who officials say stole a Marion County Sheriff’s Office patrol car and crashed into a truck in East Marion County while fleeing law enforcement, taking her own life and the lives of two others.
“A moron decided to steal a car…the deputy did absolutely nothing wrong…two individuals were killed because of that moron,” Woods stated.
According to an MCSO press release, a deputy responded to a report of a suspicious incident at Forest Plaza, in the 15900 block of East Highway 40, around 2 p.m. on Feb. 1. Deputies were told that a 33-year-old woman, Kendra Boone, allegedly tried to take an elderly woman’s car keys and tried to get into the woman’s car, but was unsuccessful.
Boone had been told by Deputy Christopher Witte to go to the rear of his patrol car but after the deputy exited the vehicle, Boone entered the vehicle through the passenger side and climbed into the driver’s seat, according to the press release.
A brief video shows a person standing outside of the passenger-side door, identified as Boone in a press release signed by Woods. The body cam footage from the deputy shows Boone then in the driver’s seat accelerating away in the patrol vehicle.
“Deputy Witte immediately attempted to remove Boone from the patrol vehicle, but she fled at a high rate of speed. Deputy Barnes arrived as Boone fled in the vehicle, at which time a vehicle pursuit was initiated,” according to the press release.
The press release indicates that Boone fled east on Highway 40 before making a U-turn near a weigh station on U.S. Highway 19 and traveled west. Deputies pursuing Boone attempted to deploy to stop the stolen vehicle, when Boone performed another U-turn and began to travel in the east direction.
The press release indicates Boone was traveling at speeds “well over 100 mph and driving erratically.”
In the 26700 block of east Highway 40, Boone attempted to pass a semi-trailer on the right shoulder but when she entered the roadway, she lost control and collided with the black pickup truck.
The Florida Highway Patrol reported that a 73-year-old man and 72-year-old woman from Waterloo, South Carolina in the black pickup were killed in the crash and a male, whose age and hometown weren’t provided, was critically injured.
“As Deputy Barnes and other deputies arrived at the scene of the crash, they discovered that Boone and three occupants of the truck were unresponsive. Boone and two occupants of the truck were pronounced deceased on scene and the third was transported to a local hospital in critical condition,” according to the press release.
All three occupants of the black pickup wore seatbelts, according to FHP, while Boone was not wearing a seatbelt.
When Woods was asked about policies about securing vehicles and deterring theft, he said the blame lies with the alleged perpetrator, not on a policy or the deputy. Woods used several expletives throughout the press conference.
When asked about what the reaction was when word came in about the stolen patrol car, Woods said “panic” because the perpetrator became a “threat to life” when considering that there was a long gun in the deputy’s vehicle.
A sheriff’s office spokesman could not comment when asked about the sheriff’s office facing any liabilities in this case, responding that the question would have to be posed to the MCSO legal department.
Woods unrolled a printout, which he stated was a record of Boone’s arrests, that included 13 felonies and nine misdemeanors in multiple counties.
Wood said Boone had an arrest in Marion County in 2022 which resulted in two years of jail time and indicated a later 30-month sentence from charges elsewhere—which should have been served consecutively rather than concurrent with the Marion County charges.
“If this person had been in jail I wouldn’t have two dead innocent people,” Woods said.
Family members of Boone’s have told the “Gazette” that Boone had an altercation with law enforcement the previous night after her parents called 911 concerning an episode with her behavior. Boone’s family said the woman had severe mental health issues and paranoia.
The “Gazette” is awaiting dispatch records and audio involving Boone since the beginning of 2024 to have documentation of her altercations with law enforcement in the days leading up to her death.