Fleeing motorist switches seats, arrested for drugs

A 26-year-old Bradenton motorist switched seats with a passenger on Manatee Avenue West before she was pulled over by police east of the Anna Maria Island Bridge on Perico Island.

The motorist, Johanna Simms, was arrested Dec. 6 by Holmes Beach police for violating probation, fleeing and eluding, driving on a suspended license and possessing cocaine with the intent to sell, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Holmes Beach Police Officer Alan Desantis reported observing a four-door Lincoln traveling south on Gulf Drive at 1:43 a.m. The motorist failed to stop at lighted traffic signal at Gulf Drive and Manatee Avenue.

The report stated Desantis activated his emergency lights and observed Simms proceed eastbound “at a high rate of speed” and switch seats with a passenger, causing the vehicle to swerve “almost causing an accident.”

Police approached the vehicle after it came to a stop, observed marijuana joints in the vehicle and conducted a search, finding a blue container with cocaine under the front seat.

The passenger-turned-driver told police Simms refused to stop unless they switched seats and that Simms had placed the container in the vehicle, according to the passenger-turned-driver’s sworn statement.

The cocaine, weighing 16.1 grams, was packaged for resale and the marijuana weighed 4.8 grams, the report stated.

Simms was transported to the Manatee County jail.           At press time Dec. 17, she was in custody, being held without bond for a probation violation related to a prior case.

Simms also was assigned $17,500 in bonds in connection with the Holmes Beach arrest.

Her arraignment will be at 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

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