23 crashes during suspect pursuit in Bradenton - WFLA News Channel 8

23 crashes during suspect pursuit in Bradenton

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Eagle 8 took this photo of the Cortez Bridge Tuesday morning. Eagle 8 took this photo of the Cortez Bridge Tuesday morning.
WEST BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) - The Manatee County Sheriff's Office now says a total of 23 accidents were caused Tuesday morning during a pursuit of a stolen vehicle.

Deputies say the pick-up truck was stolen by a 16-year-old runaway from Arcadia, from an auto shop on 60th Street in West Bradenton around 10 a.m.

During a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, Manatee County Sheriff's Office PIO Dave Bristow says the juvenile suspect rode up to the shop on his bike, determined the keys were still in the vehicle, and took off in the truck.

"We haven't really interviewed him yet to find out why," Bristow said.  "I mean obviously he wanted to go on a joyride, but that was one heck of a joyride."

Bristow says the owner of the shop and the victim attempted to follow the truck before police pursued him.  Investigators believe the teen hit as many as 23 cars trying to get through traffic.

One of the cars he damaged was driven by Terry Farren, who is on vacation from Pennsylvania.  Farren was stuck on Cortez Bridge, and saw the truck in his rear view mirror.

"I saw a red pickup coming down the middle of a two-lane bridge, and cars were going off on either side," Farren said.  "I tried to get off as far as I could, but couldn't, and he got the rear end of my car."

Deputies called off the chase at one point due to unsafe conditions on the Manatee Avenue Bridge, then reconnected with him near the Cortez Bridge where the truck crashed and he was taken into custody.

Bristow said nine of the 23 crashes were caused on the bridge.

"We haven’t had anything like this, that I can recall, with this many crashes," he said. "It's just incredible."

No serious injuries were reported in the crashes.  The teen faces a number of charges including grand theft auto, aggravated fleeing to elude, reckless driving, and multiple counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

In addition to Manatee County deputies, Bradenton Beach Police, Holmes Beach Police and Bradenton City Police assisted in the pursuit.

The Cortez Bridge was closed for about three hours due to the crashes.

Do you have questions about how police or deputies conduct pursuits in your city, or county? Check out the official policies from law enforcement agencies below:

*Manatee County Sheriff's Office pursuit policy

*Bradenton Police pursuit policy

*Pasco Sheriff's Office pursuit policy

*Sarasota Police pursuit policy

*Lakeland Police pursuit policy

*Pinellas Park Police pursuit policy

*Tampa Police pursuit policy

*St. Petersburg Police pursuit policy

*Hernando Sheriff's Office pursuit policy

*
Hillsborough Sheriff's Office pursuit policy

*
Citrus Sheriff's Office pursuit policy

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