Fleeing driver forces deputy off road

OKEECHOBEE — A local deputy narrowly escaped a very dangerous situation early Tuesday morning when a car he was chasing twice rammed his patrol vehicle and caused him to spin out of control on the S.R. 70 East overpass.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the amount of damage to Deputy Sergeant Brian Hagan’s patrol unit was not known.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office sergeant was not injured.

Two men have been arrested, one on felony charges.

Tameron Wilcox

Tameron Pryce Wilcox, 18

Arrested on the felony charges was Tameron Pryce Wilcox, 18, Knotts Landing, Okeechobee. He was charged with aggravated fleeing with injury or damage, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

He was also arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana under 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, no valid driver’s license, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage.

Wilcox is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail without bond.

An arrest report by OCSO Deputy Robbie Lamb stated Wilcox had recently been released from the county jail on bond following his arrest on a felony charge of fleeing and attempted eluding of a law enforcement officer.

Tanoris Jones

Ta’Noris Jones, 20

In the car with Wilcox was Ta’Noris Isaiah Jones, 20, N.E. 16th Ave, Okeechobee. He was arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $3,000.

Jail records show he has been released on bond.

Deputy Lamb’s report stated the Oct. 25 incident started at 1:34 a.m. when he tried to stop a red Nissan on S.R. 70 West for doing 61 mph in a 45 mph zone. It was later learned that the car was being driven by Wilcox.

According to Deputy Lamb’s report Wilcox was eastbound on S.R. 70 West when he ran the red light at the intersection of S.R. 70 West and U.S. 98 North. He then ran the red lights at S.R. 70 West at S.W. Fifth Avenue, S.R. 70 and U.S. 441.

“The suspect vehicle was veering in and out of traffic as it approached the intersection of S.E. Eighth Avenue and S.R. 70 attempting to elude the city officer and I,” stated Deputy Lamb.

That Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD) officer was not identified.

At speeds of 60 mph Wilcox then blew through the red light at S.R. 70 East and S.E. 10th Avenue.

Wilcox then turned onto N.E. 16th Avenue, continued Deputy Lamb, and led deputies and two unidentified OCPD officers in a chase throughout the Douglas Park Subdivision.

At one point, Wilcox tried to ram head-on into OCSO Deputy Nathaniel Mitchell on N.E. 15th Avenue.

“There is no doubt if I had not turned my patrol vehicle he would have run head-on into me,” stated Deputy Mitchell’s report.

By now deputies Brian Cross and Sgt. Hagan were involved in the chase. Sgt. Hagan was immediately behind the red Nissan and Deputy Cross was behind the sergeant.

As the vehicles were speeding along S.R. 70 East they approached the overpass where Wilcox ran off the road, then slammed on his brakes in attempt to have Sgt. Hagan ram into the back of the Nissan.

As they reached the crest of the overpass Wilcox swerved and rammed his car into the left rear quarter panel of Sgt. Hagan’s patrol vehicle.

Wilcox rammed the patrol vehicle a second time which caused Sgt. Hagan to lose control of his vehicle and “… slide sideways down the overpass and into the median.”

Fortunately for Sgt. Hagan, he didn’t go off the other side of the overpass and plunge onto the railroad tracks below.

Deputy Cross continued following the Nissan and it finally stopped in the 14000 block of S.R. 70 East. He — along with his K-9 Magnum, OCSO detectives Javier Gonzalez and Bryan Lowe, Deputy Lamb and OCPD Officer Michael Jordan — then approached the vehicle.

Wilcox and Jones both got out of the car when ordered and were taken into custody without further incident.

Arrest records show Wilcox was arrested April 24 by OCPD Officer Aurelio Almazan for high speed fleeing and eluding, no driver’s license and reckless driving. He was then released from jail on $11,500 bond.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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