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Leesburg man arrested after two-county chase on stolen motorcycle

Andrew Hedegard
Andrew Joseph Hedegard

A 32-year-old Leesburg man was arrested on a laundry list of charges last week after leading deputies on a high-speed chase through two counties on a stolen motorcycle.

Andrew Joseph Hedegard, of 227 Fern Drive, is being held in the Marion County Jail on $162,000 bond after being charged with possession of more than 14 grams of methamphetamine, grand theft of a motor vehicle, use or display of a firearm during commission of a felony, fleeing and eluding law enforcement with lights and siren active, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of drug paraphernalia, obstruction without violence, operating a motorcycle without a license, and driving with a suspended license.

The pursuit started shortly before 1 a.m. July 29 when a K-9 deputy from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office observed a black 2003 Suzuki motorcycle traveling east on SE Highway 42 near SE 183rd Avenue.  A computer check of the tag revealed the motorcycle was listed as stolen in Lake County, according to the sheriff’s report.

The deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop by activating the red and blue lights on his patrol car, but the driver – later identified as Hedegard – accelerated away from him. The motorcycle turned south onto Highway 452 and headed towards Lake County at around 80 mph. Another deputy joined the pursuit and they followed Hedegard on several back roads in Lake County, the report said.

Hedegard drove into tall grass in the 40400 block of Emeralda Island Road in rural Leesburg, lost control of the motorcycle and fell off. He then stood up and briefly ran from the K-9 deputy before giving up after about 30 feet at the sight of the dog, according to the report.

Hedegard gave the deputies a valid Florida ID card that showed two prior suspensions and a cancellation in March of this year. Furthermore, Hedegard didn’t have a motorcycle endorsement on his ID card, the report said.

A deputy found a black backpack in the tire marks of the tall grass where the motorcycle lost control. Inside the backpack was about 56 grams of a crystal rock-like substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. Beneath the meth was a scale and dozens of small plastic baggies, the report said.

Also in the backpack was a pink and black 9mm handgun with a fully loaded magazine. Hedegard, who was convicted of burglary in 2014, is a felon and not allowed to carry a weapon or ammunition, according to the report.

Hedegard told the deputies he fled because he has a suspended driver’s license. He’s due in Marion County Court on Aug. 30.

Hedegard was arrested last year and charged with trafficking methamphetamine. That case is still in court.

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