Carjacking leads to 100-mph chase through two counties that ends safely
By JILL TAYLOR, MICHAEL LAFORGIA and RON HAYES
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 21, 2008
A gun-toting carjacker and two apparent accomplices led sheriff's deputies from two counties on a chase that stretched more than 40 miles Monday afternoon, from suburban Lake Worth to Martin County.
The chase began when a man stole a black 2007 Nissan Altima from its owner at gunpoint in a McDonald's parking lot at 4614 Hypoluxo Road, just west of Military Trail, said Paul Miller, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokesman.
Deputies tailed the Altima and a second car, a silver 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, north on Interstate 95, watching as the men threw something — possibly weapons — from the cars, Miller said.
The Nissan ran off the road and its driver was arrested in the Jupiter area as the Monte Carlo continued north into Martin County.
It was shift change when Martin County sheriff's deputies got word that a carjacking suspect was heading their way with Palm Beach County patrol cars in pursuit at up to 100 m.p.h.
That meant there were twice as many deputies available to respond, and about 30 patrol cars from both Palm Beach and Martin conties were waiting just south of the Stuart exit.
"We had a bunch of deputies just waiting for him," said Martin sheriff's Lt. Ced Humphrey. "He just slid off the road and he just stuck his hands out the window and gave up."
It was a textbook take-down with no one hurt, no patrol cars or civilian cars damaged and two suspects in custody.
"This is what it's all about. It doesn't get any better than this. This is what we train for," Humphrey said.
Palm Beach County deputies had seen the passenger in the Monte Carlo brandishing a gun during the pursuit so their dispatchers passed along word to Martin County that the situation could turn violent quickly.
Martin County had enough warning of the approaching pursuit to slow traffic and position patrol cars and unmarked vehicles so the suspect would have to go off the road to get past them. Tire-deflating devices were placed in the area that was left.
The suspect was able to avoid the devices, but lost control when he went down a grass embankment and into a section of swamp dotted with cattails.
Investigators said something was thrown from the car during the chase and they were retracing the route to see if the gun was tossed out. It was not immediately located in the car.
Investigators were still working late Monday afternoon, but said early indications were that the Chevrolet Monte Carl had been stolen in Miami-Dade county before the Nissan Altima was taken from the motorist at gunpoint in the McDonald's parking lot.
No shots were fired and no one appeared to be injured, Miller said.