KEY WEST, FL - June 24, 2020 - According to an online news story published on Local10.com, a 35-year-old man from New York led both the U.S. Border Patrol and the Florida Highway Patrol on a high-speed police pursuit. The police chase through the Florida Keys lasted for over 20 miles before the defendant was taken into custody. The defendant told law enforcement that he had an excellent reason for speeding. The suspect stated that he was running late for a flight that was departing out of Miami International Airport. The speeder also told law enforcement, prior to being booked into jail, that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to Key West police, the 35-year-old New York man was recklessly driving on Flagler Avenue and throughout the downtown area. The man was seen driving recklessly at approximately 11:10 a.m. on Tuesday. As law enforcement tried to stop the man in his 2020 white Ford Mustang, the defendant sped off. The defendant left Key West, Florida, on U.S. 1 northbound, and the defendant topped speeds of over 85 MPH when clocked at Boca Chica, Stock Island, Big Coppitt, Shark Keys, and Rockland. The U.S. Border Patrol and the Florida Highway entered the chase with the Key West Police. The rented Ford Mustang passed numerous motor vehicles as the defendant was weaving in and out of the northbound lanes of Highway U.S. 1. At one time, the defendant illegally passed a marked SUV from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's Deputies successfully deployed spike sticks at Mile Marker 21 on U.S. Highway 1, causing the Mustang's a front and a rear tire to fall off of the defendant's rental car. The defendant began losing control of his rental car when he was passing Spanish Main Drive on Cudjoe Key, Floirda. Then the defendant finally lost control of the car close to the Kemp Channel bridge.
A Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy's Dashcam video captured a Sheriff's Deputy ordering the man out of the rental car, telling the defendant to "show his hands," the Sheriff's Deputy drawing out his pistol, and keeping the pistol pointed at the defendant. The man was arrested and taken into police custody after the defendant crashed on the bridge. The defendant stated to Sheriff's Deputies that he was running late for his flight departing the Miami International Airport. The defendant has been charged with obstructing justice, reckless driving, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement. The defendant also stated that he had COVID-19, and so the defendant was taken to the hospital. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office stated that as soon as the defendant is medically cleared at the hospital, the man would be held inside one of the jail's negative pressure cells. This procedure protects the jail's general population from potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, all detainees entering the jail are screened for COVID-19 before entering the jail. All detainees, as well as Sheriff's deputies, and civilian workers, are required to don masks in the county jail facility.