A passenger who allegedly grabbed the steering wheel of a car he was riding in and crashed it into a telephone pole during morning rush hour has been Baker Acted, Niceville Police say. 

The Baker Act, or The Florida Mental Health Act, “focuses on crisis services for individuals with mental illness, much like an emergency department is for individuals experiencing a medical emergency.”

Police made no arrests as a result of the incident. Baker Acting someone does not require their arrest.

The car crashed into a telephone pole while going west toward Eglin Air Force Base near Byrd’s Seafood Market on State Route 20. 

Police added that there were no injuries from the crash, which backed up westbound traffic on John Sims Parkway. 

More About the Baker Act

Law enforcement, medical professionals, and the courts can involuntarily commit someone to 72-hour-long mandatory monitoring under the Baker Act if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • There is reason to believe they have a mental illness, and due to the mental illness, the individual has refused or is unable to determine if examination is necessary; and either;
  • Without care or treatment, the individual is unlikely to care for themselves, which can result in substantial harm to their well-being, and it is not evident that harm can be avoided through familial intervention or other services or
  • Based on recent behavior, it is likely that without treatment, the individual will pose a severe threat to themselves or others.

In Fiscal Year 21-22, more than 115,000 people in Florida were involuntarily committed to monitoring by medical professionals by the Baker Act. Of those commitments, more than half were made by law enforcement after an incident. 

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