FHP dashcam video captures heart-stopping pursuit of stolen U-Haul van on Turnpike, 4 arrested
Intense dash camera video captured the wild, high-speed pursuit of a stolen U-Haul van on the Florida Turnpike in Miami-Dade County, filled with twists and turns, that ended with four people in handcuffs and one of them dangling from the side of the highway.
The footage from the Florida Highway Patrol, obtained by 7News, showed Thursday afternoon’s fast, furious, criminal and high-octane ride on the Turnpike, all from the point of view of a state trooper.
The trooper was one of many FHP, Homestead Police and Miami-Dade Police units that collaborated to catch the occupants in the U-Haul van that was allegedly used to ram a Homestead Police cruiser after a shoplifting spree at the Kohl’s located at 2455 NE 10th Court.
7Skyforce and Ralph Rayburn were the first to track the chase as it zoomed northbound, and as troopers executed three strategic bumps that brought the van to a halt.
FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez described the troopers’ actions that resulted in the end of the pursuit in Northwest Miami-Dade.
“We were able to stop the vehicle using the PIT maneuver, which is the most effective way to stop a pursuit and the safest way to stop that pursuit and putting other people’s lives in danger,” he said.
The tactical bumper car action worked to near perfection, as troopers stopped the getaway van.
With K-9s barking and sirens wailing, the takedown started on the right shoulder. But it wasn’t that simple.
One of the suspects inexplicably attempted fate all over again, as he approached the ledge. Moments later, Skyforce showed him dangling over the edge of the overpass wall.
The head-scratching hysteria forced the FHP troopers and Homestead Police officers seen grabbing the suspect to go from takedown to rescue mode before arresting the four suspects.
“We had to go into lifesaving mode when one of the subjects wanted to jump off the Turnpike,” said Sanchez
Authorities identified the bold quartet as 36-year-old Mekal Wilson, 33-year-old Norbert Baugh, 38-year-old Shuneka Gordon and the driver of the vehicle, 36-year-old Jermaal Stennett.
Gordon is facing charges of retail theft with a prior conviction. Stennett and Baugh are facing charges of retail theft greater than $750.
Wilson is facing charges of fleeing and attempting to elude police at high speed, battery, aggravated bodily harm with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, retail theft greater than $750, grand left in the 3rd degree, and resisting an officer with violence to his person.
As of Friday night, all four suspects remain behind bars.