High-speed chase ends in man facing 4 charges

Eduardo Villoldo

OKEECHOBEE — A high-speed chase on city streets ended with an arrest and multiple charges on Friday morning. Eduardo Villoldo, 41, Loxahatchee, was arrested Jan. 3 by Okeechobee Police Officer Ramon Liberato and charged with driving without a license — third or subsequent offense, fleeing law enforcement at high speed with no regard for the safety of others, resisting an officer without violence and no tag on vehicle.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., Officer Liberato was on patrol when he reportedly observed a Harley Davidson motorcycle, with no tag, headed south in the 400 block of U.S. 441 North. When Officer Liberato attempted to stop the motorcycle, the driver reportedly accelerated and headed south toward State Road 70 West. The speed limit in that area was 25 mph, but the driver’s speed was estimated to be about 60 mph, accelerating at some points during the chase to over 100.

Officer Brandi Drapal was near Eli’s Western Wear with overhead lights and siren activated. The motorcycle reportedly almost rear-ended the patrol car but managed to maneuver around it at the last minute and headed west. The motorcycle turned right onto U.S. 98 North and as it approached the livestock market, it once again swerved around a police car, this one driven by Detective Bettye Taylor.

When he reached the 2300 block of Northwest 42nd Avenue, he reportedly reached into his right front pocket but then lost control and crashed into a ditch. Officer Liberato gave the driver several commands to lie flat on the ground with his hands spread out, but he allegedly refused to comply, and Officer Liberato deployed his taser. When he still refused to lie down, Officers Liberato and Drapal assisted him to the ground, but he landed with his arms underneath him and refused to move them. When he still would not comply, he was stunned again and the officers were able to get his left arm out from under him. Finally, with the help of Sgt. Aurelio Almazan, they were able to secure his right arm.

When he was searched, the officers reportedly found a Walther.45 pellet pistol and five lighters in his right front pocket.

His bond was set at $14,000.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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