Man accused of leading police on chase throughout South Florida in stolen van faces judge

MIAMI (WSVN) - A man accused of leading police on a chase throughout South Florida in a stolen minivan has made an appearance in court.

Juan Garcia faced a judge in a Miami-Dade County courtroom and listened to the multiple charges filed against him on Thursday.

“He struck one officer on the arm when he was fleeing the first time, and then, he crashed into three other officers who tried to stop him,” Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Mindy S. Glazer said.

Garcia said through a translator that the allegations brought against him are all lies.

“Yeah, that thing about me hitting the police, that’s a lie,” Garcia said in Spanish.

Police from at least two jurisdictions said Garcia is the man who led them on a high-speed chase Wednesday that concluded in a crash at Northeast 10th Avenue and 81st Street in Miami.

Witnesses watched and recorded some of the scarier moments of the chase from a terrace off Northeast 79th Street and shared their video with 7News.

“This dude is driving circles and circles,” a witness said. “He’s got them in circles.”

Investigators said the van, which was stolen from Miami Beach, crashed into a Mercedes-Benz before coming to rest inches from a house in the area.

Quinton Renck, the driver of the Mercedes-Benz, suffered a minor foot injury, but his vehicle was totaled.

“Sorry, I’m in a bit of a shock because I got into an accident,” he said. “He must have been driving 90 mph, maybe 100 mph. He had like 20 cop cars behind him, so I’m not quite sure what happened.”

7News cameras captured Garcia in handcuffs at the scene where the pursuit came to an end.

Garcia was already out on bail for an unrelated case. His new bond has been set at more than $46,000.

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