Lazaro Ricardo Castellon, 33, faces charges including battery on a police officer and fleeing and eluding police after a chase that began at the Dolphin Mall and ended in Miramar Tuesday, authorities said. Witness Patrick Dawkins described what he saw when Castellon arrived on the scene.
Sweetwater Police arrested a man Tuesday after a pursuit of a stolen taxi cab that began at the Dolphin Mall and ended in Miramar, authorities said.
The suspect reportedly stole the 2008 yellow Ford taxi cab from 4030 NW 26th St., police said in a statement.
Lazaro Ricardo Castellon, 33, faces a variety of charges including battery on a police officer and fleeing and eluding police, authorities said.
He was also found in possession of marijuana and ecstasy, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Joe Sanchez said. It was not immediately known whether Castellon has an attorney.
A Sweetwater Police officer ran the tag of the cab while patrolling the Dolphin Mall and confirmed that it had been reported stolen, and then attempted to stop the cab by turning on his vehicle's lights, police said.
Police began following the cab after attempts to stop it failed, Sweetwater Police spokeswoman Michelle Hammontree-Garcia said.
With three Sweetwater units in pursuit, the cab sped up and made its way up the Florida's Turnpike from Miami-Dade County into Broward, where the suspect left the highway, according to police.
He veered into a gated community where Patrick Dawkins was working.
"I heard the heavy breaking right there, and he hit the cones and everything. He seemed panicky," said Patrick Dawkins, who is a security guard.
Dawkins said that before he could press the button to activate the U-turn gate, the suspect mowed down the arm of the gate.
"He hit the pedal, hit the gas toward the gate and broke the arm off – and sped away," he said.
After the suspect fled from the cab, he was apprehended and arrested by Sweetwater Police, they said.
Before he was taken into custody, a trooper used a Taser on Castellon in the parking lot of a shopping plaza, but he managed to remove the prongs from his back and kept running, Sanchez said.
He was handcuffed near a shopping plaza that was filled with children. Mauricio Chmelnik, the owner of The Goddard School, said he could see the arrest being made from a window of his school for early childhood development.
"I locked the school and we took all the precautions and all the security. We took the children to the back of the school," Chmelnik said.
One police car was struck by the taxi cab during the chase, according to police.