CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A 27-year-old Clearwater man is expected in court today after he livestreamed a life-threatening joyride from Clearwater Beach to Caladesi Island on Thursday.
Police say the driver, Ryan Stiles drove for nine minutes down the north side of the beach, running over chairs and umbrellas. Cops were chasing him the entire time. They finally caught up with Stiles when he drove onto Caladesi Island.
He livestreamed the entire escapade on his Facebook page. Many calls came into Clearwater Police Department from people who were watching the joyride on Facebook live. One person watching from California also called 911.
People on the beach were surprised and frightened to see the reckless driver on the beach.
“There was a black SUV just flying down the beach. And then you heard the police cars, they came after him,” said Jeff Vance who is visiting from Tennessee. “It was nuts. We had a couple of little girls with us and they were scared half to death. “
Lifeguard Tyler Small was worried the SUV would hurt someone. “He was just drifting in and out. And I kept on looking at him just to make sure he wasn’t going to hit anybody,” said Small.
At one point, Stiles narrowly missed a baby.
“And I was just asking people if they were okay, and I saw this one baby in a crib right next to the tire tracks and I guess the mom pulled the baby out right before the guy went by.”
Stiles was taken into custody at the north end of Caladesi Island. No one was injured in the incident.
His reckless behavior didn’t stop there. Once at the police station, authorities say he took off his belt in a holding cell and started swinging it around. He ended up shattering a glass window.
He has more than half a dozen charges filed against him including driving under the influence, resisting arrest, and reckless driving.
As of Friday morning, Stiles is still in jail. His bond is $23,150 and he should have his first appearance in a Pinellas County courtroom this afternoon.
Below is the list of charges the Clearwater Police Department has filed against him. He could face even more charges.
- Obstructing or resisting an officer without violence
- Threatening a public servant
- Driving while license is suspended (one prior)
- Criminal mischief
- Flee or elude (high speed/wanton disregard)
- Driving under the influence
- Leaving the scene of a crash involving property
- Reckless driving
Stiles was able to drive onto Caladesi Island because it was low tide. The island is normally only accessible by boat.
Stay with WFLA.com for updates about this story.
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