Tri-County police chase ends in Palm Beach County

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - A high speed chase, through three South Florida counties, reaches 108 miles per hour.

It all started in Miami. But the side-swiping, run-away driver found open road and quickly raced to Palm Beach County. And that's just the beginning of a very tense situation for everyone involved.

Photographer Ralph Rayburn caught the whole thing from our Miami sister station's chopper. "We are just coming up on the south side of the Palm Beach County airport."

A driver in a white Mazda, wanted for ramming an officer's car in Miami, makes his way to the Florida Turnpike and gets a straight shot north.

As long as there's open road, the police policy is to wait for the driver to do something not so smart.

That's exactly what he did -- sometimes driving in the emergency lane, whizzing past cars and semis at speeds upwards of 135 miles per hour. "We've just received word that the Broward chopper has gone home and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's chopper has launched and is tracking this vehicle."

But not long after, north of Okeechobee Boulevard, the driver makes a mistake and clips a car. "There you go; he's hit the guardrail. Looks like it's going to come to an end."

The driver bails out, and, with guns drawn, the suspect concedes to deputies. This chase is over.

We don't have a name on this driver yet, and agents aren't giving us much information other than this was part of a drug trafficking investigation. Our sister station is reporting authorities found $600,000 in cash when they searched the white Mazda.

But, just as the chase comes to an end, more drama unfolds:

Photographer: "Are you alright?"
Upset mother: "I'll break it [camera]."
Photographer: "I know you're upset."
Upset mother: "I'll break it! Just wait til I get off the freakin' phone idiot."

Marianne just wanted to finish her phone call with her son after her afternoon drive took a terrible turn. She was driving a black pickup north on the Turnpike when she was clipped by a fleeing car. She said her son had just called her to warn her about the police chase.

"[He] said there's a white Mazda being chased up the Turnpike," recalled Marianne. "I said, 'No problem. I'm in West Palm.'"

Her tire blew; however, Marianne managed to maintain control of the truck. "I kept it. I didn't lose it. I didn't hit a wall, didn't hit another vehicle. Yay, I can go to NASCAR."

It may very well have been her skilled driving that kept this dramatic end from turning deadly. Amazingly, no one was hurt. "I'm shaking now that it's over. I was really scared I was going to hit somebody and really hurt them with a truck. It's very heavy. I'm proud of me."

Marianne told reporters she was going home to have a rum without the coke.