Woman Arrested For
Stealing Vehicle - Traveling Wrong Way Down Havendale
Blvd. in Winter Haven
response from multiple law enforcement agencies helped to avoid what
could have been tragic results as a woman drove a stolen vehicle the
wrong way on Havendale Blvd.
Thirty-seven year-old Heather Johnson of Polk City is behind bars
charged with Grand Theft Auto after she took the keys to a vehicle
when the owner gave her a ride. Additional charges are pending on
Here is what occurred:
On 1-22-14 at approximately 10:10 a.m., 79 year-old Thomas Stewart
was at Walgreens in Auburndale when Heather Johnson (DOB 1-8-77, 127
Clearwater Ave., Polk City) approached him and asked for a ride to
the CVS store in Auburndale. Stewart reportedly took Johnson to CVS
and then she asked for a ride home.
Along the way, Johnson asked Stewart to stop at the boat ramp just
off Hwy 92 at Lake Pansy. When the pair got out of the truck,
Johnson grabbed Stewart’s keys, got in the driver’s side and left
Stewart behind. Stewart immediately called 9-1-1 and a BOLO (Be On
The Lookout) was issued for the 2010 GMC Sierra pickup truck.
An Auburndale police officer spotted the vehicle in the area of
Charlotte Rd. in Auburndale. The vehicle traveled through a field on
Lee Street and back out onto Charlotte ultimately cutting through
the baseball field of Auburndale High School towards Stadium Rd. The
Polk County Sheriff’s Office helicopter responded to the area and
kept a visual on the vehicle, reporting to officers in the direction
as Johnson headed onto Havendale Blvd. towards Winter Haven. At this
point, the front passenger tire had blown and the vehicle was riding
on the rim.
Ground units had lost sight of the vehicle, but as Johnson headed
eastbound on Havendale Blvd., the helicopter pilot continued to
direct officers up ahead of her movements when she crossed into the
westbound lanes at 21St. St. and continued east bound in the
westbound lanes, all while sparks continued to fly from the vehicle.
Law enforcement from Winter Haven and Lake Alfred headed traffic off
along Havendale in order to avert a possibly tragic situation. As
Johnson approached Spring Lake Plaza, she crossed back over into the
eastbound lanes and continued over Hwy. 17 onto Ave. T, NE. The
helicopter pilot was instrumental in keeping officers on the ground
aware of the direction of travel of the vehicle, which allowed
officers to position themselves ahead of the stolen vehicle.
The vehicle finally came to a stop in an open field in the area of
8th St. NW and Ave. T, NE in Winter Haven. When the vehicle hit the
dirt in the field, the front end dug in and would not go any
farther. Officers converged on the vehicle and arrested Johnson. Due
to a slight cut on her hand, she was taken to Winter Haven Hospital
by ambulance, then booked into the Polk County Jail.
“This is a prime example of law enforcement agencies working
together to assure the publics’ safety,” said Chef Gary Hester.
“Everyone worked together making sure a visual was kept on the
suspect while innocent citizens were kept out of harm’s way.”