Man drives through school playground during Sarasota crime spree

2:37 PM, Oct 24, 2012   |    comments
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Sarasota, Florida -- A man faces numerous charges after he fled from police twice -- once through an elementary school playground -- and allegedly battered two people, all in one day.

Around 3:30 p.m., deputies say when they tried to stop a gray Chevy Malibu for speeding, the driver took off into a residential neighborhood off Webber Street. He then drove across the Brentwood Elementary School playground full of students and teachers, crashed through a fence and ended up on Vinson Avenue. At that point, deputies suspended the pursuit due to Kaafi's obvious disregard for others.

Based on the man's description and the car's make and model, 31-year-old John Kaafi was identified as the possible suspect. 

Later that day around 6 p.m., deputies received a call of a battery incident at Kaafi's home in the 2500 block of Glebe Farm Close. However, when they got there, he had already left.

Then, around 3:30 a.m., the mother of Kaafi's child reported to police he hit her several times with his fists, a chair and an unidentified weapon during a fight when she stopped by his house. She told police he was high on crack and was "acting crazy."

At 4:40 a.m., a patrol deputy spotted Kaafi's Malibu speeding on Honore Avenue while heading north near Fruitville Road. Despite attempts to stop him, which included stop sticks, Kaafi continued to speed through the area with total disregard for others on the road. 

Just as deputies were about to stop pursuing him again, a deputy noticed him turn down Dog Kennel Road which is a dead end road. Kaafi then ditched the car and took off on foot. As the deputy approached he saw a woman standing in the road whom he recognized as Dausha Wenn. 

A perimeter was set in the area and a K-9 and helicopter unit were called out. During the search, the deputy interviewed the Wenn who told him Kaafi was running because he had drugs on him. She also said she was with him during the earlier pursuit and was thankful no kids were hurt. She said they had ditched the car behind a Lowe's to let it "cool down" and went back to his house. 

She told the deputy around 4 a.m. they got a cab back to the car so they could go to a hotel for the night. She admitted she shouldn't have let him drive again because he "scared the f*** out of me the first time and this time he wrecked my car." 

When asked why he didn't pull over, she said he told her because "I'm good at this and I think I can get away."

Kaafi didn't get away though. 

Deputies were called out to a home in the 9200 block of Fruitville Road around 5 a.m. after a resident had come into contact with a man he suspected was why deputies were in the area. A K-9 deputy found Kaafi hiding in a wooded area at the north end of the home's property.

Kaafi was charged with two counts Fleeing to Elude and one count each of Burglary and Attempted Vehicle Burglary after police found evidence he broke into the resident's shed and tried to break into their truck. More charges are pending.

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