Stolen patrol car crashes in Apopka, suspect caught

- A chase ended with a smashed deputy's cruiser, sitting on the side of the road in an Apopka neighborhood.

The crash was just down the street from Melvin Cheever’s house.

“That's ludicrous, it really is!” Cheever said.

The story begins about a mile away on another quiet street, when the suspect's roommate called deputies and warned them about the suspect, saying he was acting 'erratically'. 

Deputies say when the suspect stepped out of the house, he held a knife to his own throat.

“The deputy backs up, draws a firearm. The subject runs back into the residence and takes off on foot into a wooded area,” said Orange County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Jeff Williamson.

A neighbor saw the whole thing. 

“He was turned around, hollering at them down there. Looked like he had a knife in his hand. He ran up by the house, into the weeds somewhere, disappeared. There was a police officer chasing after him,” he said.

From there, deputies say the man stole a truck and smashed it into the deputy's car. 

“He gets away from the deputy after a struggle and gets into the deputy's patrol vehicle,” Williamson said.

The man led deputies and police on a two-mile chase, smashing into two other cars. 

Eventually the cruiser broke down. 

Deputies say the man got out of the car and started fighting with deputies.

“He charges one of our deputies,” Williamson said. “A second arrives and they struggle with him. Deputy number one tases the subject with no effect. Deputy number two tases the subject... no effect.”

It took several deputies to get him under control and arrest him. 

Neighbor Dee Roberts said she wasn’t surprised. 

“He's just really out there. He'll be talking to himself, walking up and down the street,” Roberts said.

In all, three deputies and two other people – plus the suspect – were taken to the hospital with injuries.

All are expected to recover.

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