Man steals FHP patrol car on Florida’s Turnpike

A man was arrested Thursday, May 2, after allegedly stealing a Florida Highway Patrol car in Okeechobee County near Mile Marker 181 at approximately 4 p.m. An FHP trooper reported he stopped to help what appeared to be an injured pedestrian. The man was extremely sunburned, he said, and had a busted lip and multiple scratches. When asked his name, he said he was Chaz Michael Bonos. The trooper said Mr. Bonos seemed confused and disoriented, and he gave him water because he seemed dehydrated. Mr. Bonos’ condition seemed to deteriorate more and more, and the trooper called for a Road Ranger and had Mr. Bonos sit on the ground near the right front of his patrol car for his safety.

Shane Jensen

When the Road Ranger arrived, he said he had encountered Mr. Bonos the day before but, when he called for a trooper, Mr. Bonos disappeared. While the trooper stood at the rear of his patrol car talking to the road ranger, Mr. Bonos allegedly jumped up and got into the patrol car and drove off northbound at high rate of speed.

The trooper notified dispatch and several units gave chase. When Bonos entered Osceola County, troopers put down stop sticks at Mile Marker 192. Bonos was able to avoid them, went onto a grass median and came to a stop against a guardrail. He fled into the woods but was apprehended and was transported to Raulerson Hospital, where he was identified as Shane Jensen, 22, of Largo. It was discovered he had two active warrants out of Pinellas County.

He was charged with grand theft auto, five counts of fleeing or eluding law enforcement, seven counts of aggravated battery and two counts of resisting an officer. Bond was set at $140,000.

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

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