A Florida man told officers he ingested crack cocaine while police chased him from Miami to the Upper Keys, sheriff's deputies said.
Mark Edward Welch, 50, of Lake Worth, was arrested Tuesday night and faces charges of DUI, fleeing and eluding, and possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Florida City police started pursuing a black Jeep Liberty involved in hit-and-run crashes on the mainland. Welch drove from Miami to the Upper Keys and kept driving even after running over tire spikes, officials said.
Welch continued to drive south with flat tires before he struck a barrier wall and came to a halt near Jewfish Creek Bridge at Mile Marker 107, officials said.
When deputies were placing Welch into custody, he was unable to stand and was continuously hacking and coughing. He said he had been smoking crack cocaine since that morning and ingested 20 crack rocks during the pursuit, officials said. He said he still had rocks in his throat and was having a hard time coughing them up.
Welch was booked into Monroe County jail after being treated at the hospital. He's expected to face additional charges from other law enforcement agencies that were involved in the pursuit.