Report: local man drives car into Taylor Creek

OKEECHOBEE — A man is being held on bond in the county jail after he reportedly drove his car down a boat ramp Saturday and into Taylor Creek with the apparent intention of killing himself and the man riding with him.

When officers from the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD) arrived at the ramp in the 600 block of S.E. Fourth Street around 9 p.m. on July 15 they found a dark-colored PT Cruiser in the water. A short time later they found a man curled up in a fetal position in some bushes.

That man reportedly told Officer Raul Marrero and Sergeant Dawn Wendt he was hiding from the driver because he was afraid of the driver.

“He said ‘we’re going to die tonight’ and drove his car into the water,” the passenger reportedly told police.

According to Officer Marrero’s report the incident started when he was sent to a man’s home on S.E. Sixth Ave. because someone had tried to kick in his front door and demanded money. While the officer was speaking with the homeowner, he was notified that a car had been found in Taylor Creek.

The officer told the homeowner to lock himself in his home, and Officer Marrero then headed for the boat ramp.

Upon his arrival at the ramp the officer spotted tracks headed to the south — away from the water. A few minutes later, the man in the bushes was found.

That man reportedly told the officers he didn’t know which way the driver of the car went, but he was hiding from him because he was afraid.

Officer Marrero noted in his report the frightened man apparently initially got out of the PT Cruiser before the driver of that car went to the man’s home to get money supposedly owed him. The frightened man told the deputy he then walked east on Fourth Street and made it to Sixth Avenue, when the driver pulled up and gave him a ride.

“(I) told (him) ‘let’s go get some cigarettes’ but he (the driver) said ‘nope, we’re dying tonight,’” stated the report. “(He) then punched the gas and drove like a madman down the ramp and then into Taylor Creek.”

The frightened man was able to get out of the car and run away.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office deputies later arrested the driver of the PT Cruiser at a home in the southeastern part of the county and held him until Officer Marrero arrived.

Because no one wanted to press charges against that man, all the officer could do was charge him with one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of an accident. He is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail on a $500 bond.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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