‘This idiot is lucky he did not blow himself or his truck up’: Flagler man reportedly pulled over with live grenade

The grenade was removed from the vehicle and safely detonated by at a nearby county-owned facility.

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida man has been arrested after a live grenade was found in his vehicle during a traffic stop, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

Louis Branson, 65, was charged with driving with an expired license for more than six months and possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Monday, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on County Road 305 in Bunnell on a Dodge pickup truck. Deputies say the truck had an expired tag and a registered owner whose driver’s license expired in 2019. 

The driver was later identified by deputies as Branson.

Deputies said they made contact with Branson and asked him to provide his driver’s license. He reportedly advised there was an issue with his license and he needed to clear it up with Georgia. Upon questioning, it was determined Branson was aware that his license was expired for more than six months, and he was arrested without incident.

An inventory search of his vehicle was conducted, and deputies say a glass pipe was found in the driver’s side door and another pipe in a storage compartment. Both pipes reportedly had burn marks with residue believed to be narcotics. 

Deputies say they also found was a device appearing to be a grenade in the vehicle. Branson stated he had cleaned out a veteran’s home and found the grenade and decided to keep it. He was reportedly unaware if it was active or not.

After conducting an investigation, including an x-ray of the device, it was believed to be a real grenade based on the x-ray revealing its internal mechanisms. The grenade was removed from the vehicle and safely detonated by at a nearby county-owned facility.

“Here’s a prime example of how deputies never know what a traffic stop may turn into,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This guy was pulled over because his tag and license were expired, and then deputies found drugs and a grenade in his vehicle. This idiot is lucky he did not blow himself or his truck up. Carrying around an explosive device is very dangerous and illegal. I’m proud of how deputies utilized their training to close the area to ensure everyone stayed safe and took this situation seriously.”

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