MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Cell phone video shows people running for cover from outdoor dining as a car speeds dangerously down Ocean Drive in the middle of the day on Sunday.
As of Sunday night, a 15-year-old was in police custody after he was the one behind the wheel when a stolen black Cadillac finally came to a stop. Three female passengers who tried to flee were detained and are being questioned. Those 3 females bailed out of the car with 2 men, and while the women were caught, the men are still at large, according to Miami Beach Police.
The chaos began at 2:30 p.m. when Miami Beach motorcycle officers tried to pull over a car that sped through a stop sign near South Pointe Drive and Alton Road. It was later discovered that the Cadillac had been stolen out of Miami-Dade County and that the license plate was stolen from a different incident, according to police.
The wild ride continued, striking another officer’s motorcycle near 2nd Street and Ocean Drive.
The car then took off to the 400 block of Washington Avenue, and it was there, police said that 5 of the occupants bailed out of the car.
The car hopped a sidewalk on Ocean Drive and went into grassy Lummus Park. Cell phone video shows the car fleeing down Ocean Drive, which was supposed to be closed to vehicular traffic.
Surveillance video from Washington Avenue and 4th Street captured terrified customers who were dining outside and were forced to get out of the way as the car came close to hitting them.
The driver crashed into some barricades after exiting Ocean Drive and 7th Street, and, according to police, the tires were punctured on spikes from the barricades. But that didn’t deter him. The teen in the Cadillac headed to Washington Avenue south to the 600 block. It is there where the pursuit finally ended. The 15-year-old tried to flee, according to police, but was apprehended.
“While they apprehend the suspect, the officer noticed the vehicle start to smoke,” Miami Beach Police Department spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said. “They had to break the window to check the car for additional people and turn off the car. They found a gun in the drivers’ seat with an extended magazine.”
The teenager is facing serious charges related to the incident and the firearm that was found.
However, police believe that the 15-year-old boy was not the only driver of the car. They are looking into whether, at some point, he switched places with one of the men that is now at large.
The owner of La Locanda Restaurant, Massimo Fortunato, said he saw part of the chase.
“This is the first time something so close happening in South Beach — is really scary. Thank God in the restaurant next door, six or seven policeman were having lunch and they came out and they were screaming, ‘Everyone leave.’ The guy, he tried to go over the fence and ride on the sidewalk,” Fortunato said.
Washington Avenue was closed down for several hours from 5th to 7th Street as the car was inspected and damage to other vehicles assessed.
“We have two males still at large,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve made significant progress in identifying these folks and our detectives are working aggressively to get these folks into police custody.”
Police said there were no injuries in the incident.