ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol said its troopers stopped four suspected car thieves who were blazing down Interstate 4 across three counties on Sunday night in a stolen SUV that reached speeds in excess of 100 mph.
The FHP was responding to a call from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office after deputies attempted to stop the driver of the silver Lincoln SUV. The driver eluded deputies and traveled into Seminole County and then Orange County where he was met by a trooper who activated lights and sirens as the SUV exited onto Anderson Street in Downtown Orlando. Troopers said the SUV entered onto I-4 Express lanes and proceeded eastbound to State Road 436 in Altamonte Springs.
"While on the expressway, the vehicle reached speeds of over 130 mph while overtaking vehicles using the paved shoulder and the paved median," a trooper wrote in an arrest report. "The vehicle also almost collided with multiple vehicles while traveling at speeds over 100 mph while in the expressway travel lanes."
The FHP said the driver made a U-Turn and accessed the westbound lanes of I-4, heading to Maitland where the SUV exited at Maitland Blvd. A trooper said he followed the vehicle through Maitland city streets where the driver was said to have run multiple red lights and traveled in the wrong direction on a divided road.
"The vehicle continued at speeds over 100 mph while almost colliding with a vehicle while traveling westbound on Maitland Blvd. until it crossed the grassy median just west of Magnolia Homes Road and began traveling eastbound on Maitland Blvd.," the trooper wrote. "The vehicle continued eastbound overtaking vehicles on the shoulder of Maitland Blvd. while continuing traveling eastbound on Maitland Blvd. towards Interstate 4."
It was at this point that a second trooper was able to assist in stopping the SUV and was behind it when it collided with a traffic sign and tree near the entrance to eastbound I-4.
"After the vehicle collided with both the traffic sign and tree, the vehicle traveled down the embankment on the east side of the entrance ramp to Interstate 4 where the vehicle became stuck on the muddy shoulder. Once the vehicle was stuck, the four occupants of the vehicle fled from the vehicle and all four traveled on foot from the entrance ramp back onto eastbound Maitland Blvd. towards Sandspur Road," the trooper wrote.
Troopers pursued the four occupants on foot and were able to apprehend one of the passengers. The suspected driver of the vehicle jumped from the overpass of eastbound Maitland Blvd. when a deputy from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to assist. That deputy was able to take him into custody. The two other occupants were also captured with the assistance of a K-9 unit as they were hiding in a nearby baseball field dugout, troopers said.
All four occupants are charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting an officer.