A reckless driver who led authorities on a high speed chase before he jumped from a Marathon bridge is recovering in a Miami hospital, police said Tuesday.
The incident began when police received reports of a reckless driver in a white Chevrolet Impala heading northbound in the southbound lanes of the 7 Mile Bridge around 11 p.m. Monday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
A deputy spotted the car, which had side swiped the bridge and been damaged, a few minutes later in Marathon and began to follow it. When the deputy attempted to stop the car, it stopped but suddenly sped away, authorities said.
The car got back onto the bridge where it reached speeds of 90 mph.As it reached the hump of the bridge, the deputy saw a large black cloud of smoke and debris from the Impala, which started to slow down, authorities said.
Authorities say the driver, identified as 45-year-old Dale Darosa, got out of the car and started walking, refusing the deputies' demands to stop and put his hands up.
Darosa then jumped over the edge of the bridge and into the water, and began yelling for help, authorities said.
The Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a Marathon Marine deputy responded to the scene to help fish Darosa out of the water.
Darosa, of Massachusetts, admitted he'd been drinking, and his son, who lives in Marathon, later told deputies his father is a recovering alcoholic who began drinking again and had been drinking all day, authorities said.
Darosa was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center for treatment. He'll be charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police and resisting arrest when he's released from the hospital, authorities said.
The rental car Darosa was driving appeared to have blown its engine and had to be towed off the bridge with severe damage, authorities said.