DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A man was taken into custody after he led authorities on a chase through Broward County, and police are now investigating whether he is linked to a double homicide in Fort Lauderdale.
7SkyForce HD hovered above the subject’s white Jeep Wrangler as he headed northbound along Interstate 95 in Deerfield Beach, Tuesday morning, with about two dozen police vehicles following closely behind.
The chase came to an end when a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser performed a pit maneuver on the vehicle just north of Hillsboro Boulevard, causing the Jeep to roll over and land on its side.
With weapons drawn and K-9s in tow, officers pulled out part of the Jeep’s black top and removed the driver from the vehicle. He was then handcuffed and taken into custody.
According to property owner Michael Jones, the chaotic chain of events started in Fort Lauderdale, when he spotted the Jeep parked on his empty lot on Center Avenue, near Oakland Park Boulevard and A1A.
“There was a Jeep parked down in the middle of the property with out-of-state tags,” he said.
Jones, who is an attorney, said he wanted to know who was in the Jeep and why it was parked on his property overnight.
“I asked him, I said, ‘Excuse me, sir, is this your Jeep?’ I was going to tell him to remove it from the property. It’s not his,” he said. “He said, ‘Yeah. What the eff is it to you?’ I said, ‘Well, it’s my property. You can’t park here. No problem with you parking overnight.'”
Jones said the man then came closer to him.
“He approached me, he pushed me on the ground,” he said. “He was acting crazy. I defused the situation by saying, ‘You’re right, you’re right, you’re the owner. I’m sorry, it was a bad joke.’ I got back in my car, I called 911.”
Just as Jones was on the phone with 911, his friend Tom came to help just as the driver of the Jeep was leaving.
“He gets in the Jeep, he turns it on, and the last thing I remember is Tom pulling in behind the Jeep, and I said, ‘Get out of the way, get out of the way!'” said Jones. “He slammed it in reverse, he clipped Tom’s golf cart.”
But Jones said the mayhem did not stop there.
“The next piece of terror was when I was in my car, and I saw this Jeep barreling at me at probably 30 miles an hour in reverse, and there was no time to react,” he said. “It was just between me and the Jeep, and it hit me, slammed into me. I was in a state of shock.”
At around 10 a.m., while Fort Lauderdale Police officers were speaking to Tom, investigators said, the driver returned and was pointed out by the victim.
Police said they tried to stop the driver, but he refused to do so, leading to the pursuit.
The Jeep headed westbound on Oakland Park Boulevard before getting onto I-95.
Throughout the chase, the driver stayed well within the speed limit. He headed northbound on I-95 at just over 50 mph.
The chase unfolded hours after police found the bodies of two males along the shore of a Fort Lauderdale, on the 3000 block of North Ocean Boulevard, a few blocks away from Jones’ lot.
Police said they are investigating the disturbing discovery as a double homicide, and they are trying to determine whether the driver of the Jeep is connected.
“I saw this guy. He was crazy in his eyes,” said Jones. “My father was a psychiatrist for 30 years here in town. I’ve been around. I did my rounds with Dad, and I know crazy when I see it.”
Jones went to the scene of the chase to identify the driver as the man parked on his property.
“While I was there, the Jeep was turned, not upside down but was on its side,” he said, “and there were two large hunting knives and a loaded weapon in the vehicle.”
“I’m glad I’m here, and I’m glad he’s in custody, especially if he had anything to do with those two murders on the beach last night,” he said.
Jones and Tom said the driver was drying clothes next to the parked Jeep, but they don’t know what was on those clothes.
As of Wednesday morning, police have not released the names of the driver or the two men found dead on the beach.
It remains unclear what charges the driver may be facing.
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