MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A traffic stop spiraled into chaos in a busy part of South Beach, leading police officers to draw their guns before a driver fled and led them on a pursuit that involved a change in drivers and ended with one teen arrested, three women in custody and two men still at large.
According to Miami Beach Police, motor officers were conducting traffic enforcement near South Pointe Drive and Alton Road when the driver of a black Cadillac ran a stop sign and refused to pull over, at around 2:30 p.m., Sunday.
Investigators said the driver struck an officer’s motorcycle near Second Street and Ocean Drive shortly after.
“Thankfully, that officer was able to maintain his balance and was not injured,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.
Cellphone video showed officers approaching with guns drawn before the car is seen taking off.
“South Beach is very scary right now,” said witness Cori Kavanagh.
Police said there were three men and three women inside the vehicle. Soon after, the Cadillac pulled over and five people got out: all three women, the driver and another male passenger.
Investigators said that was when a 15-year-old boy who was riding in the car jumped into the driver’s seat, sped off and continued the chase.
Surveillance video at a nearby restaurant captured people running inside in fear for their lives.
Eventually, detectives said, the teenage motorist bypassed barricades and made it onto Lummus Park, driving on the grass and barely missing bystanders.
“I saw the car going up the grass, and the police start chasing him,” said Kavanagh.
Cellphone video showed the Cadillac moments later, as the driver hopped back on the road, onto a section of Ocean Drive closed to vehicles.
The dramatic footage captured police sirens blaring in the background as people ran back in an attempt to avoid the mayhem.
“All the people started running, and they all get, like, into the place,” said Kavanagh.
“This [teen] was operating this vehicle recklessly throughout our city,” said Rodriguez.
From there, police said, the 15-year-old drove back down Washington Avenue but came to a stop near Sixth Street due to a flat tire. That’s when officers made their move.
“He tried to bail out of the vehicle. He was quickly apprehended by the officers on the scene,” said Rodriguez.
Officers arrested the 15-year-old driver and detained the three women.
Police said no officers were injured.
Detectives said the black Cadillac was stolen and was involved in several other crimes in the area.
“What we did find in that vehicle was a loaded firearm on the driver’s seat with an extended magazine,” said Rodriguez.
The driver at the beginning of the chase and the other male passenger remain at large.
If you have any information on their whereabouts, call Miami Beach Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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