A 15-year-old juvenile male wearing a T-Shirt that read "WON'T BE CAUGHT" was arrested after fleeing from local law enforcement Thursday afternoon.
| 6:55 p.m. April 7, 2017
WINDERMERE – A juvenile who had fled from a Windermere police officer after an attempted traffic stop was arrested Thursday, April 6, after a two-hour, multi-agency search.
The 15-year-old, a student at Dr. Phillips High School, was observed speeding at 44 mph in a silver-colored Ford Focus while traveling eastbound on Windermere Road. Windermere police Sgt. Jayson Bonk and two other officers running radar noticed the traffic violation and Bonk pulled out from his position to conduct a traffic stop.
Once Bonk activated his police lights, the juvenile sped up and began passing cars in the wrong lane of the roadway while heading toward Maguire Road. At that point, Bonk said, he realized the car was fleeing but did not pursue, following department policy.
"The vehicle continued at a really high rate of speed on Windermere Road toward the three-way stop on Maguire, and at that point he was in the wrong lane of traffic trying to come up to the intersection, and I think that's when he realized the vehicles were traveling north and southbound," Bonk recalled. "So he slammed on his brakes and the vehicle started skidding out of control, and it almost struck a couple of cars that were traveling through the intersection. Luckily, he was able to recklessly make a right turn onto Maguire Road where he continued southbound toward downtown Windermere."
The fleeing vehicle inadvertently left a trail to its location with skid marks that were noticed by Bonk, Windermere police chief David Ogden said. Several minutes later, the car was located in a lot at 106 E. Sixth Avenue just off Main Street, behind the Windermere Police Department and Town Administration buildings.
"I was pretty much just driving at a regular speed just following all the skid marks ... then as soon as I got to Sixth Avenue and reached the backside of the Windermere Police Department I saw the vehicle parked and came in to block the car in but it was unoccupied," Bonk said.
However, within moments residents called the department to notify WPD that a young black male was running down Forrest Street and later observed sitting in the backyard of 904 Main Street. WPD requested assistance from the Orange County Sheriff's Office, which brought a helicopter and three K-9 officers to help set up a perimeter.
"They really worked hard trying to track the driver of the car, but yesterday was really windy so the wind kept throwing the dogs off," Bonk said. "And within an hour of searching for him, we just couldn't find him but we knew he was hiding somewhere in that area. So as we were packing everything up and leaving the scene, the dog – as he was trying to put him in the car – the dog went on the opposite side of the fence and started going crazy."
One of the K-9 deputies then suggested the search team check the house again and the juvenile was discovered hiding underneath a metal trailer in the overgrown backyard. The young man was arrested and charged with burglary of a dwelling, fleeing and attempting to elude and reckless driving.
"Hopefully he learned from this," Bonk concluded.