Wanted man flees from police

OKEECHOBEE — Law enforcement continues to search for a man who is apparently wanted in the state of Maine but ran from police Thursday morning and, at newspaper presstime, was still on the lam.

A woman with the man, however, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and booked into the Okeechobee County Jail on a $1,500 bond. Jail records show that woman, Crystal Ann Taylor, 26, of Davie, has been released on bond.

However, police continue to search for Michael Joseph Lewis, 29, of a S.W. 10th St. address in Okeechobee, who fled from a police officer after the officer had helped push Lewis’ vehicle to a gas station.

According to a report by Officer Michael Jordan, of the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD), Lewis’ 1995 Chevrolet pick-up truck was stopped around 9:30 a.m. on South Parrott Avenue at Walmart. When the officer couldn’t pass the vehicle, he got out of his car and helped Lewis push the vehicle to the Murphy gas station while Taylor steered the truck.

“After getting the vehicle to the gas pumps and while walking back to my car, dispatch advised me the registered owner had a warrant through Maine with a nationwide extradition (order),” stated Officer Jordan.

At that point the officer got into his patrol car and drove to the gas station. Taylor was pumping gas into the truck and the driver’s side door was open. It was then the officer noticed a syringe in a compartment on the door. That syringe, continued the officer’s report, contained a red liquid.

Officer Jordan stated he later tested that liquid and that test indicated a positive result for the presence of codeine.

As the officer was dealing with Taylor he noticed Lewis was not around. The gas attendant, when asked, told the officer the man ran along the west side of Walmart and was headed south.

As officers from the OCPD and deputies from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office gave chase, Lewis apparently ran into The Home Depot. He ran through the store then out of an exit. As of Friday afternoon, Dec. 2, he had not been found.

“I called Lewis from Taylor’s phone, with Taylor’s permission, and asked him to come back and he hung up,” noted Officer Jordan in his report.

During a search of the truck the officer stated he found a second syringe in the glove box. Both syringes were seized as evidence and will be sent to the Indian River Crime Lab in Fort Pierce for further analysis.

The officer’s report only describes Lewis as a white male with a scruffy beard.

The type and color of clothing being worn by Lewis was not mentioned in the report.

Dispatch notes state law enforcement searched The Home Depot and a nearby field but Lewis was nowhere to be found.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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