MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (WSVN) — A South Florida teen was taken into custody after, investigators said, he stole a police car and took it out on a joyride that ended when he struck three cars and slammed into a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant in Miami Gardens, Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses said they watched in disbelief as the Miami-Dade Police cruiser came speeding down Northwest 27th Avenue and smashed into cars waiting at the 175th Street stoplight, just before 1 p.m. "This dude comes like a bat out of hell and just slammed in the back of them," said James Johnson. "Just hit them and tore their [expletive] up!"
Lucretia Ventura, who said she was behind the wheel of one of the cars that was struck, said the squad car appeared to come out of nowhere. "I was basically on the phone with my mother minding my business, and all of a sudden there’s this boom," she said.
"I jerk up, my arm hits the steering wheel," Ventura continued.
Investigators said the suspect, a 16-year-old boy, hit two other cars before striking the Church’s drive-thru.
"They’re lucky they ain’t dead. I’m telling you, they’re lucky they ain’t dead, man," said Johnson.
Police said the teen tried to flee the scene on foot but didn’t make it very far before he was apprehended by officers. 7News cameras captured the young driver as he sat in the back of a squad car.
"I’m kind of still in shock. My leg is still shaking," said Ventura. "Oh, man. Home sweet home, huh?"
Crime scene investigators remained at the scene trying to piece together the chain of events that led up to the crash. They said it all started at the teen’s home, located on Northwest 17th Place in Miami Gardens, after his mother called police because she thought he had been involved in a robbery. As responding officers were talking to her, her son jumped into a cruiser and took off.
"Who steals a cop car? Who does that?" said Ventura.
Paramedics bandaged Ventura’s bruised arm and took her to an area hospital and treated for minor injuries. "You’re not even safe on a Saturday afternoon, going to a stoplight, without getting hit in the back by somebody who’s not even a cop," she said.
The teen was arrested and taken in for questioning.
"And I already had a bad day yesterday, so this was like the cream of the crop," said Ventura. "It’s the reason why I left Miami."
Police said the investigation is ongoing. The teen is facing several charges including grand theft. It is also reported that he doesn’t have a valid driver’s license.