MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – A driver, speeding south on U.S. 1, led Monroe County deputies on an on-again-off-again pursuit that spanned 29 miles from Big Pine Key to the entrance of Key West.
The chase ended when the driver, identified as Asiel Diaz Valladares, 31, crashed into a hotel pool area in Key West.
The incident began at 11:23 p.m. Wednesday when a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy spotted a vehicle driving 86 mph in a 35 mph Key Deer Zone near Mile Marker 30.
According to the sheriff’s office, the deputy did not attempt to stop Diaz Valladares for “safety reasons.” Instead, he radioed to other deputies to be-on-the-lookout.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported that there were a series of attempted stops by multiple deputies, but the stops were halted for safety reasons. Deputies reported that Diaz Valladares drove 80 mph during the pursuits.
Key West Police joined the pursuit as the suspect drove closer to Key West.
It was then that the van in which Diaz Valladares was driving ran through the Triangle entrance to Key West and ended up on the grounds of the Hilton Garden Inn Key West.
The report stated that the suspect smashed his van through the hotel’s fence, crashed over trees and other vegetation and ran over the hotel’s Jacuzzi before smashing into a pavilion. There were no hotel guests in the area at the time, according to the report.
According to Hilton Garden Inn Key West, damage is estimated at $30,000.
Diaz Valladeres fled after the crash and was found hiding in bushes at the hotel. He was taken into custody. The van, which had a bed, clothes and toiletries inside, was totaled, police said.
He was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center and was airlifted to Jackson South Medical Center. His condition Thursday morning was not known.