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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Leesburg woman arrested again with kids in her car

Michelle Nicole Harbin
Michelle Nicole Harbin

A Leesburg woman jailed last year for having drugs with her children in the vehicle was arrested again with her kids in the car – this time for failing to pull over for a traffic stop because her boyfriend told her not to.

Michelle Nicole Harbin, 37, of 12019 Mary Lane, was charged Tuesday night with fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer and two counts of child neglect after a low-speed chase that started near Bay Street and Orange Avenue in Eustis and ended about three miles away on David Walker Drive near Mount Homer Road.

A Eustis police officer observed Harbin’s white car traveling south on Bay Street and ran the vehicle’s license tag, which came back registered to Harbin, whose license was suspended last month. The officer tried to initiate a traffic stop but Harbin kept going. She continued to drive the speed limit and obeyed all traffic laws during the chase, according to the police report.

A second officer got involved and was able to block traffic to get Harbin to pull over. Officers approached the vehicle with guns drawn and ordered the occupants to get out. Harbin’s 15-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were in the back seat. The front-seat passenger was her boyfriend, Thomas Riggio, who was wanted on a warrant for burglarizing a home in June, the report said.

After being read her Miranda warning, Harbin said she was afraid Riggio would harm her if she didn’t do what he requested. When asked why she thought that, Harbin said he has been verbally aggressive towards her in the past but has never harmed her. The officer told Harbin she put her and her children in danger for the sake of her boyfriend to avoid police, according to the report.

Harbin was taken to the Lake County Jail, where she was released early Wednesday on $6,000 bond. She’s scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on Oct. 17.

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