Monday, February 25, 2008

Teen Who Led Deputies On Car Chase Arrested

A Lee County teenager who led deputies on a pursuit in a stolen car through Immokalee that ended early Monday when he crashed into a ditch was arrested on felony charges.

Jaime N. Rodriguez, 16, of Lehigh Acres, was charged with fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, grand theft auto, child abuse, and driving without a valid license.

Reports say Rodriguez was driving a green Buick that was traveling higher than the posted 30 mph speed limit east on Immokalee Drive around 3 a.m. Deputies on patrol activated their lights and sirens and attempted to make a traffic stop.

When Rodriguez failed to yield and the Buick picked up speed, deputies started a pursuit, which traversed several streets at moderate speeds for about four minutes. The Buick then headed toward an orange grove off Alachua Street where Rodriguez inadvertently drove into a deep ditch. He was taken into custody.

A 14-year-old female passenger was also inside the car with Rodriguez when it crashed, reports said.

Further investigation revealed that the Buick had been reported stolen. A cousin of the teen told deputies that Rodriguez had taken the Buick without his permission.

Rodriguez was also charged with giving deputies a fake name. He initially told deputies his name was Jose Rodriguez Maldonado, reports said.