Deputy chases man into canal

OKEECHOBEE — After a chase down U.S. 441 Southeast, through the woods and into a canal on Dec. 28, Jose Acevedo Alicea, 33, U.S. 441 Southeast, was arrested by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Varnadore and charged with fleeing a law officer with lights and siren active, resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and failure to register a vehicle. Bond was set at $100,500.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., Deputy Varnadore was on patrol near the 8600 block of U.S. 441 Southeast when he spotted a green dirt bike approaching him, traveling northwest, on the wrong side of the road. Deputy Varnadore activated his lights and siren in an attempt to perform a traffic stop, but Alicea reportedly turned the bike around several times and then took off headed southeast, looking back several times at Deputy Varnadore. After about a mile, the dirt bike reportedly swerved across the lanes into oncoming traffic and swerved in and out of lanes to avoid a collision with oncoming traffic.

Deputy Michael Cauley joined the chase, and the dirt bike swerved back into the right lane and off the road into a wooded area, where the rider hit a hole, causing him to crash. He then fled on foot, heading toward a canal. As he was running, he fell into another hole, allowing Deputy Cauley a chance to catch up to him and grab him, but he reportedly hit Deputy Cauley in the head, causing him to lose his grip. Alicea then ran toward the canal again and jumped in, but Deputy Cauley followed him and was able to take him in at gunpoint.

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