Sheriff blasts 'moron' who stole, crashed deputy's vehicle, killing herself and two others

Sheriff Billy Woods spoke to the media on Friday and showed body camera footage of a woman stealing a deputy's vehicle.

Woods said dispatchers received a call from a woman alleging another woman was trying to steal her vehicle keys.

The body camera video shows Deputy Chris Witte arriving on scene. He lowered a window and told a woman, later identified as Kendra Dalyn Boone, to go to the back of the SUV.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods spoke to the media on Friday afternoon.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods spoke to the media on Friday afternoon.

Witte got out of the cruiser, closed the door and walked to the back. As he was walking, Boone entered the SUV through the passenger's side open window and got to the back seat.

Realizing what she had done, Witte quickly went to the driver's side door and tried to unlock the vehicle. Witte was able to open the door and attempted to grab Boone, but she managed to speed away.

The crash

She drove the stolen SUV on State Road 40 East for several miles with a deputy in pursuit. She made a U-turn near the weigh station, just west of State Road 19, sheriff's officials said.

As the vehicle continued westbound, other deputies were putting out stop sticks. Boone turned the vehicle around before reaching the stop sticks and headed eastbound on SR 40.

Boone drove recklessly at speeds of more than 100 mph. The pursuing deputy lost sight of the stolen SUV on multiple occasions, authorities said.

Eventually, the stolen SUV ran off the road and onto the right shoulder while trying to pass a semitractor-trailer. When Boone re-entered the roadway, she lost control of the vehicle and it slammed into a GMC Sierra pickup truck that was in the oncoming lane.

A Marion County Sheriff’s Office mobile forensic unit on Thursday.
A Marion County Sheriff’s Office mobile forensic unit on Thursday.

When deputies got to the location, they found Boone and three other people unresponsive. Boone, and two people from the pickup truck, a man and woman, died at the scene, deputies said. The third person from the pickup, identified by Florida Highway Patrol troopers as a man, was taken to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital in critical condition.

Troopers said the stolen SUV caught fire.

The deceased from the pickup truck were identified as 73-year-old Earl Middleton from Waterloo, South Carolina. His brother Russell Middleton, 74, is from Silver Springs. He remains hospitalized, troopers said.

The third occupant, a 72-year-old woman, also from South Carolina, was killed in the crash. Her family has not been notified of her death, troopers said.

Woods defends deputy

"My deputy did absolutely nothing wrong," Woods said at the press conference.

The sheriff said law enforcement officials call never know what they will be facing when responding to a call for service.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods holds Kendra Boone’s rap sheet during his Friday press conference.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods holds Kendra Boone’s rap sheet during his Friday press conference.

With Boone climbing through the window, Woods said: "You saw how fast that happened."

Woods said no policy or procedure could've prevented Boone from doing what she did. He called her a "moron" at least twice during the news conference.

"The blame goes to this individual," the sheriff said.

Holding stacks and stacks of paper, Woods told the media that each page highlights Boone's criminal history. The record includes 13 felony arrests and nine misdemeanors.

Boone's criminal past

Locally, records show Boone was taken into custody on a trespassing charge in February 2020. She spent a day in the jail and was released. Months later, in July 2020, Boone was again arrested. This time it was for an Orange County warrant for violation of probation for burglary of an occupied structure. Court records show the 33-year-old woman was released in November 2020.

Her final arrest came in late October 2021, when she was accused of trespassing and fleeing and eluding police/disregard of safety to persons or property.

Sent to prison in May 2022, Boone was released in October 2023, according to a state filing. Those same records show she had other convictions for grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and attempted robbery, all from Volusia County.

Woods said if Boone would have been sentenced to prison for violating probation, there wouldn't be two dead innocent people.

"Hold people accountable," Woods said.

Crash with death: Woman, 70, killed in two-vehicle crash in rural northeast Marion County

The sheriff said his heart goes out to the families of the two people who died. He said Boone "was a threat to human life" because there were firearms in the stolen vehicle and because she was driving recklessly.

Contact Austin L. Miller at

This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: Sheriff: Blame rests with the woman who stole the deputy's vehicle