Thursday, August 4, 2011

Deputies Reel In “Gator” During Pursuit

Domingo Morales Jr. didn’t give it much thought when a man in a Florida Gators T-shirt sat in Morales’ chair at the bar while he played pool at an East Naples lounge Wednesday night.

That is until Morales was ready to leave and noticed his keys - and vehicle - were gone.

Deputies responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at King’s Lounge, 4864 Davis Blvd., around 11 p.m., according to Collier County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Morales, 51, told deputies that he was playing pool with friends around 8:30 p.m. He left his keys to his 2006 GMC Yukon and his drink at the bar. Around 10:15 p.m. Morales noticed a man sitting at the bar next to his keys and drink. The man was wearing a blue Florida Gators T-shirt.

When Morales returned to the bar around 11 p.m. he noticed his keys missing. He went out to the parking lot and his Yukon was gone.

Deputies spotted the Yukon traveling west on Immokalee Road near Livingston Road. A deputy in a marked patrol vehicle with lights and sirens activated attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The driver failed to stop and continued to head west on Immokalee Road.

Deputies engaged in a pursuit for about a mile when the driver stopped the Yukon in the left turn lane near the Uptown Center.

The driver, Luis Hernandez, 46, was taken into custody. He was wearing a blue Florida Gators T-shirt.

Hernandez, 145 Manor Blvd., East Naples, was charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding law enforcement and petty theft.