3 Fort Lauderdale men in stolen car detained after fleeing from officers

PHOTO BY NICK SAMUEL

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Three men traveling in a stolen car were detained following a police chase that ended with the driver crashing the vehicle and the men running into the woods Wednesday near 53rd Street, deputies said. Several K-9 dogs with the sheriff’s office and Vero Beach police tracked the men in the woods.

“The suspects jumped the wall into Grand Harbor (Golf and Beach Club),” Vero Beach police spokesperson Master Officer Darrell Rivers said. Rivers said one of the men pointed a firearm at an Uber driver moments before the police chase.

The vehicle – a gray four-door 2020 Honda Civic – was stolen out of south Florida, Indian River County sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Joe Abollo said. Officers also found the men in possession of stolen mail that included several checks, Rivers said.

The driver will be charged with fleeing and eluding, Rivers said. The other two men will be charged with resisting arrest.

The incident unfolded about 4 p.m. on the barrier island. Rivers said Vero Beach police received a phone call from an Uber driver about a suspicious vehicle – the Honda Civic – parked in the driveway of a residence along Azalea Lane.

“When the Uber driver approached the vehicle, a person in the backseat brandished a firearm,” Rivers said. When the Uber driver called police, the Honda driver sped away, police said.

Rivers said the Honda traveled west over the Merrill P. Barber Bridge. When police tried to conduct a traffic stop, the Honda headed north on Indian River Boulevard.

Rivers said the vehicle crashed at Indian River Boulevard and 53rd Street. A sheriff’s helicopter spotted the suspects after they ran into the woods.

Deputies and police detained the suspects. Deputies also found a loaded magazine from a .40 caliber handgun near the men.

The men were detained and will be booked into the county jail. More charges are possible pending the outcome of the investigation into the stolen mail, officials said.

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