OCALA, Fla. - A wild pursuit of a suspect in a home invasion and car theft in The Villages was caught on camera moments before his arrest in Ocala.
Parish Tanner owns Ocala Car Audio, a shop right across the street from where a high-speed chase ended with 39-year-old Michael Prouty in handcuffs. Surveillance video from Tanner’s shop shows Prouty careening through the intersection, with deputies after him. He slams straight into another car.
"We’re blessed that nobody died in that accident," Tanner said.
You can see Prouty running off on the surveillance. Capt. Dustin Keuntjes with the Ocala Police Department said two citizens actually helped stop Prouty. The first jumped in right after the crash.
"He was able to fight his way out of the grasp of the good Samaritan and continue fleeing," said Capt. Keuntjes.
Captain Keuntjes said Prouty tried to carjack someone after that, which is when the second citizen assisted.
"The good Samaritan chased him down and was actually able to grab him and hold him down as officers were closing in on him."
If Prouty had been successful, police said it would have been his second carjacking of the day. The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said a little before 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Prouty forced his way into a house in The Villages, got into a struggle with the homeowner, and then took her purse, cell phone, and Cadillac. Dee Church lives a few doors down the street. She said the crime has scared people in the neighborhood.
"Unbelievable, just shocking," said Church, "because it doesn’t happen around here."
Sharon Sindlinger said she and her husband plan to be diligent about locking their doors.
"It’s getting more prevalent now, we’ve seen a few more things happen."
None of the neighbors FOX 35 spoke with had seen Prouty before, but law enforcement officers know him well. The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said he had just gotten out of prison in February after serving five years for robbery. Since the year 2000, he has had 13 different felony convictions, and the Ocala Police Department said he has other charges pending right now in Miami.
"We don’t know what else he would have done from here," said Tanner after he heard that list of charges.
Ocala Police say they don’t want to encourage people to run toward dangerous criminals, but they did have a message for the Good Samaritans who helped stop Prouty.
"We’re always looking for good officers, and from what we can tell from his actions from what we witnessed, he would be someone we’d love to hire," said Capt. Keuntjes.