Teen leads deputy on 120 mph chase

OKEECHOBEE — A 16-year-old teen was arrested in Okeechobee County early Wednesday after he allegedly led both Martin County and local deputies on a high speed chase in a stolen vehicle.

The teen — Michael Ford Richmond — managed to escape deputies from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and led an Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) deputy on a chase of speeds up to 120 mph, stated an arrest report.

Richmond was taken into custody May 17 around 3:30 a.m. after he wrecked the silver BMW 330I he was driving in the 1800 block of S.R. 78 West. He then led OCSO deputies on a brief foot chase, but was soon captured.

He was returned to Martin County where he is charged with grand theft – auto, fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, no valid driver’s license, passing in a no passing zone and failing to stop at a stop light.

Richmond was booked into the Martin County Jail then taken to the St. Lucie Regional Detention Center in Fort Pierce.

It was not clear as of newspaper deadline if the 13-year-old juvenile with Richmond was charged.

According to a report by OCSO Deputy Mathew Huffman the stolen BMW was first seen by him in the 8500 block of U.S. 441 S.E. The deputy was able to get behind the car and verify it was the stolen car.

The deputy turned on his emergency lights and siren but the driver of the car — later identified as Richmond — quickly accelerated.

“I was able to pace the BMW at a maximum of 120 miles per hour on U.S. 441 S.E. The traffic flow was minor and surrounding vehicles were yielding to my vehicle’s emergency light and siren,” noted Deputy Huffman.

With the fleeing car heading his way, OCSO Deputy Yero Todman deployed stop sticks at the Pier II Hotel, 2200 U.S. 441 S.E., so Deputy Huffman slowed to a “manageable speed.”

The BMW’s right front tire struck the stop stick, but Richmond reportedly kept going. When Richmond reached the intersection of U.S. 441 S. with S.R. 78 West he was still doing 70 mph and he did not stop at the red light, pointed out Deputy Huffman.

As he tried to negotiate some curves on S.R. 78 West, Richmond began to slow down. However, he apparently didn’t slow enough and lost control of the BMW and left the roadway. He came to rest in the grass, stated the deputy’s report.

Richmond then jumped from the car and began to run in a westward direction with Deputy Huffman and Deputy Jessica Francis following. After running about 150 feet, Richmond stopped and laid down.

MCSO Deputy Jason Hickman responded to the local sheriff’s office and transported the passenger in the BMW back to Martin County where he was released to his guardian.

Deputy Huffman went on to note in his report that no OCSO vehicles or private property was damaged and no OCSO personnel was injured.

A call to the MCSO seeking more information on Richmond and the charges against him had not been returned as of newspaper deadline.

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