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A 20-year-old man lead authorities on a high-speed chase Monday night through six counties along Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 95 before he was captured in a field by a K-9 named Zorro, police said.
Richard St. Leger, 20, of Pompano Beach, drove a stolen Mercedes SUV through Orange County, Osceola, Indian River, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie County, before the pursuit ended in Martin County, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies deployed stop sticks to flatten the vehicle’s tires and a K-9 named Zorro then helped secure the fleeing suspect, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. The chase began near Orlando and ended some 150 miles later near Hobe Sound.
“The danger to innocent lives related to this crime cannot be overstated,” the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies in Martin County, which is north of West Palm Beach, were alerted to the chase through an alert from the Florida Highway Patrol. Video footage from a sheriff’s office aircraft showed the car speeding along without headlights after deputies attempted to stop it.
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The sheriff’s office said the ground pursuit was terminated because of the dangerous speeds, but the aircraft continued to track the stolen SUV. Deputies were able to deploy the stop sticks to deflate the vehicle’s tires.
The driver ran from the vehicle and into a wooded area.
“Multiple deputies followed along with K-9 Zorro,” the sheriff’s office said. After he ignored multiple commands to surrender, deputies unleashed the dog “into the woods ending this dangerous criminal joyride.”
St. Leger faces multiple charges including grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing with a disregard for safety, and obstruction. The passenger in St. Leger’s stolen vehicle, 28-year-old DeVonte Martin of Boynton Beach, was also arrested.
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“Every agency and every person on-shift last night, from dispatch, Aviation, K9 to Road Patrol, did an outstanding job ending this pursuit with no injuries or loss of life,” the sheriff’s office said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.