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Detectives: Driver used child as shield after fleeing police in North Fort Myers

Jessie James Peterson.jpg
Posted at 1:00 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 13:00:21-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies say a Lee County career criminal was arrested Wednesday after using a child as a human shield after fleeing law enforcement.

34-year-old Jessie James Peterson is charged with Child Abuse, Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Flee and Elude, Resist Arrest, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and several drug-related charges to include Possession of a Controlled Substance.

According to the Lee County Sheriff's Office, it all started on Tamiami Trail in North Fort Myers on Wednesday. Detectives say they witnesses an SUV driven by Peterson driving recklessly, and attempted a traffic stop.

As detectives approached the vehicle, the driver sped off, made a u-turn, and struck a patrol vehicle, causing injury to detectives.

The SUV then drove onto the sidewalk, hit a guardrail, and drove into a ditch.

Detectives approached the SUV and found two children in the back seat, with Peterson now in the back seat as well, using one child as a shield.

The children were safely removed from the vehicle and taken into protective custody before being turned over to a family member.

Detectives later learned that the vehicle contained 2.55 grams of Fentanyl, 8.76 grams of cocaine, 7.57 grams of heroin, 22.27 grams of methamphetamine, one pill of Oxycodone and a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber firearm.

Deputies say Peterson has more than 20 previous arrests in Lee County.