Suspect in custody after crashing stolen police car in PortMiami tunnel

Russell McGruder has extensive criminal history in Miami-Dade County


MIAMI – A man is in custody after taking a stolen police car on a joyride in Miami.

Miami-Dade police said the marked cruiser was stolen shortly before 8:30 a.m. Monday.

A suspect was taken into custody after crashing the car in the inbound lanes of the PortMiami tunnel.

The suspect was identified as Russell McGruder, 34. He faces charges of grand theft, reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

According to police, the incident began at a Miami hotel where Miami-Dade police officers on dignitary detail where waiting to escort U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro to a breakfast event. Police said McGruder jumper into a police cruiser that was still running and took off.

A police officer eventually crashed his police-issued vehicle into the one McGruder was driving, causing damage to both cars.

Police said McGruder tried to run away and sprayed two of the officers with some chemical before he was apprehended.

McGruder was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital for injuries he suffered while being taken into custody. Police said no officers were injured.

"We still have no idea what his intentions were," Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said.

McGruder has an extensive criminal history in Miami-Dade County, where he was arrested on numerous charges since 2010, such as battery, burglary and possession of cannabis.

All lanes of the tunnel were closed for several hours during the investigation.

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