Driver steals sheriff's SUV, tries to pull over cars, leading to crash into home

Car crashes into Cocoa home; Orange County sheriff's SUV recovered

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

COCOA, Fla. - A person driving a stolen Orange County sheriff's vehicle attempted to pull over drivers early Thursday in Brevard County, resulting in a crash into a home, officials said.

Cocoa police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said officers received reports of an Orange County patrol vehicle, a marked white SUV that had its lights activated, chasing a car. The car being chased, a black Cadillac reported stolen in West Palm Beach, crashed into a home on Greenwood Way at Japonica Lane, Martinez said.

"I don't know if they knew there was a curve, but they kept going straight, hit the curb and hit the house," a witness said. "I guess they hopped out the car and went running."

Edward Brown said his wife was sleeping in the garage when the Cadillac plowed through it.

"When I got out here, I saw the car's been hit, the garage has been smashed in and my wife screaming," Brown said.

His wife was not injured. Brown said he tried to help the man in the Cadillac.

"I told him to sit down, wait for the ambulance. He said, 'No, I can't wait. I got to go because I can't go back to jail.' So he took off running," Brown said.

As officers investigated the crash scene, another officer saw the Orange County patrol SUV attempting to pull over other drivers, police said. 

Several parked cars were struck during the incident, according to police.

A neighbor who called 911 said her car was one of the ones that was hit.

"It hit my car, pushed it aside, hit another little car that was parked in their driveway and then ran into the house. It's now sitting in the driveway," the woman said.

No injuries were reported.

Officials said the stolen patrol vehicle fled from Cocoa officers and was later recovered abandoned behind the Save-A-Lot Plaza on Dixon Boulevard.

Orange County deputies have recovered the vehicle and are working with Rockledge police to investigate the theft.

"There were no weapons, credentials or laptop inside the vehicle at the time of the theft," the Orange County Sheriff's Office said. "The vehicle is not equipped with a dash cam."

Cocoa police are investigating the crash and the reports of impersonating a police officer. No suspects have been identified.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

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