Police in the Florida Keys from two agencies said they tried to pull over a Kendall man as he drove his Honda at speeds of more than 100 mph Sunday afternoon — sometimes passing cars by driving into oncoming traffic on U.S. 1.
The man, identified as Ignacio Luis Lamadrid Gomez, was ultimately found hiding in an Islamorada resort after ditching his car. According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the 24-year-old told deputies he was trying to return to Cuba.
A photo of his passport released by police shows he was born there.
A police officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was heading south on U.S. 1 when he first saw Gomez’s blue Honda Civic at mile marker 88 as it passed him in a no-passing zone while going over 100 mph shortly before 2 p.m.
That officer said in his report that he put on his flashing roof lights to signal the driver to pull over. The officer, Lt. Joshua Peters, drove directly behind Gomez’s car, and he pulled over on the side of U.S. 1.
When Peters got out of his car and walked toward the Civic, Gomez began to slowly accelerate his car, according to the officer’s report. Peters yelled at him to stop, but Gomez sped off, weaving in and out of traffic.
Agencies operating in the Keys try not to chase speeding cars on U.S. 1 as a safety measure to avoid putting the public in danger. Peters radioed ahead to alert other officers to be on the lookout for the speeding Honda.
A Monroe County sheriff’s deputy saw the Civic at mile marker 77. He turned on his lights and sirens and drove behind Gomez, who continued to drive recklessly, according to the sheriff’s office.
Gomez turned into the Coral Bay Resort at mile marker 75 and ran away from his car. Deputies found him hiding among the resort’s cottages, said sheriff’s office spokesman Adam Linhardt.
That’s when he told them his plans to go to Cuba. Linhardt said deputies found two passports and $450 inside his car.
Gomez, who could not be reached for comment, was released from county jail Monday on a $57,500 bond. He faces charges of reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, resisting arrest, and operating a motor vehicle with no valid driver’s license.