Domestic violence incident ends in “high-risk” traffic stop and arrest in downtown Eustis Wednesday night

EUSTIS, Fla.—A man accused of a domestic battery was arrested Wednesday night in downtown Eustis after leaving the scene of the incident with his mother.

Eustis Police Department responded to a home near the Lake County Fairgrounds around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on a report of physical domestic altercation and possible kidnapping. As officers arrived, dispatch advised the children were no longer in the car that left the scene, and the victim told officers all her children were at the home and not in the vehicle with her ex-husband. She said her youngest son was in the car with him, but she was able to remove the boy before John Barry Bates III left with his mother, according to an arrest affidavit.

The victim told police Bates, 37, head-butted her and was taking her children he did not have custody of. She told police she was at a local campus where she takes classes when she received a “distressing call” from her sister-in-law stating Bates was threatening to harm her sister-in-law’s husband and son. Bates was at the home caring for the victim’s two children, 8, and 14, according to an affidavit.

The victim said she immediately left school and went to the home and saw Bates and his mother driving away in a silver Honda with her youngest son. She panicked and began following Bates and honking her horn; Bates eventually stopped in the neighborhood and the victim took the boy from the vehicle. Bates then head-butted her, causing a cut and bruise under her left eye, and took the boy again.

The victim then called police and began following Bates and his mother, believing they were leaving the area. She followed them back to the home and removed her son from the backseat. Bates knocked her to the ground, removed her glasses, got back into the vehicle and threw a cup at the victim’s car and fled the scene before police arrived, she told officers.

An EPD officer spotted the Honda at the intersection of County Road 44 and County Road 452. The officer waited for additional units and when they arrived, EPD performed a “high-risk” traffic stop in the area of Ferran Park and Bates and his mother were ordered out of the car at gunpoint and detained.

Bates was “uncooperative and disgruntled” but then began to comply and told officers he picks up his son every day at the home at 3:30 p.m. and when he picked the boy up Wednesday, his ex-wife arrived and started walking towards his car. He said he exited the car and when he approached her, she head-butted him. Bates had a small cut on his forehead, the officer noted in the affidavit. He said he did not retaliate and got back into the car and left with his mother, who was driving. They stopped a few streets away and Bates said he walked his son back to the residence and then left with his mother. Officers asked him if he pushed or struck the victim and he said he wished to speak with his lawyer, the affidavit states.

Bates’ mother told police she went to the home with her son to pick up her grandson and the victim “appeared out of nowhere” and head-butted Bates and threw him to the ground and started yelling and they both left the home; Bates is 7 inches taller than the victim, the officer noted. Due to the injuries to the victim and Bates, statements and physical evidence, Bates was arrested for domestic battery and transported to the Lake County Jail. At press time he was being held on no bond. Bates’ mother was released on the scene. Inside Lake is not naming her because she was not charged with a crime.

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