Man was involved in a high-speed chase in Havelock, Carteret County

“Moonshine” Kennedy has been caught in the Sunshine State.

The North Carolina fugitive, who lead eastern North Carolina law enforcement on a chase from Havelock to Pelletier in a stolen Ford Escape on June 29, was captured 600 miles away Thursday night in Daytona Beach.

Damon “Moonshine” Kennedy, 42, of Greenville, was last seen after he jumped out of the stolen vehicle and fled into the woods near the Croatan National Forest in Pelletier. Kennedy was attempting to elude Carteret County Sheriff’s deputies who had been chasing him after he sped away from a traffic stop made by Havelock Police.

According to a release issued by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Deland, Florida, Kennedy was posing as a homeless man and hiding in the woods. Kennedy was captured at a Checkers restaurant at 2210 International Speedway Blvd. and is in custody in the Volusia County Branch Jail on a dozen warrants from North Carolina.

The N.C. eastern district of the U.S. Marshals Service tracked Kennedy to Florida, where he was spotted at the restaurant. Volusia County and Daytona Beach authorities took Kennedy into custoy at 11:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the release.

Kennedy is charged with fleeing to elude arrest, resisting an officer, assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run, assaulting a government official, damage to property, possession of stolen goods and reckless driving, according to a release.

Kennedy, who has an extensive criminal history, also is wanted in South Carolina and Tennessee.

On June 29, Kennedy was stopped by Havelock police in a parking lot at 322 E. Main St. with two women and a man in the stolen SUV. Kennedy sped away from the stop, leading authorities on a chase down U.S. 70, N.C. 24 and N.C. 58 at speeds in excess of 85 mph, according to the release. In speeding away from a stop, one woman passenger jumped or was thrown from the vehicle and the other two passengers were let out at Broad Creek.

At the end of the chase, Kennedy attempted to elude Carteret County sheriff’s deputies by driving through yards in the community of Pelletier. Kennedy rammed two of the patrol cars before crashing and taking flight into the woods near the Pelletier town hall. Law enforcement attempted to chase the Kennedy, but he got away until Thursday night.

Havelock Police Chief David Magnusson said Kennedy put lives in danger during the high-speed getaway. 

“He put my officers in danger. More officers get killed in vehicle accidents than by gun shots by in large,” said Magnusson. “I am very happy (he was caught) and I tip my hat to the law enforcement professionals in Daytona Beach and I suppose it’s poetic justic that he was captured on Daytona Beach International Speedway Boulevard.

“So let him come back here and let the appropriate charges take hold and the appropriate sentencing so that he doesn’t do this again, becuase he didn’t just put my officers in danger. He put officers from other law enforcement agencies in danger. He got away, but, as the old adage goes, you can run but you can’t hide.”