The man who led police on a rush-hour chase by car and by foot in South Florida was ordered held on $66,000 bond Wednesday.
Guillermo Alvarez-Mendez, 47, appeared remotely via video before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen, a day after his drive from West Park in southern Broward to Little Havana ended with a head-on collision. On Wednesday police identified Alvarez-Mendez as the driver of the van involved in the chase.
"Judge, I actually watched this chase live on TV, and the defendant almost ran over multiple pedestrians, got into multiple car accidents, there were numerous police vehicles and during the entire chase the police were right behind him at a safe distance,” a prosecutor said in bond court.
Alvarez careened the blue older-model Toyota van around and through traffic as he drove down city streets, but no one was seriously injured, police said.
After the head-on crash, he bailed out of the van and took off running, aerial footage showed. He ran on rooftops and at one point almost lost his balance as he tried to climb even higher before he jumped back down. Police set up a perimeter in the neighborhood and apprehended him a short time later.
Alvarez-Mendez faces charges of fleeing and eluding, and leaving the scene of a traffic crash with injuries, police said.
Alvarez was convicted 14 years ago for leading police on a high-speed chase similar to Tuesday’s, according to authorities. He has done prison time twice, with the latest stint from 2003 through 2011, records show.
"Mr. Alvarez, not trying to embarrass you at all, but have you ever been treated for any kind of mental health issues?" a public defender asked him in court Wednesday.
"Yes sir,” he replied.
"Have you ever been given a diagnosis as to what your condition is?" the public defender asked. “Bipolar,” Alvarez-Mendez replied.
The prosecutor asked for an additional $50,000 for his bond, saying that Alvarez-Mendez is a danger to the community. The judge agreed. The bond she set at $66,000 included the extra $50,000 requested.
Tuesday’s events, which began with him allegedly breaking into the van and stealing tools in a Home Depot parking lot before the chase, are going to keep him in jail because, as the public defender noted, Alvarez-Mendez won’t be able to post the bond.
When he was asked in court if he would rather go to a hospital instead of sitting in jail, Alvarez replied no.