Three men are facing felony charges after troopers pursued them on Florida’s Turnpike in Broward County during rush-hour traffic, the passengers tossing guns and a thousand grams of cocaine out of the window of their truck.
Troopers arrested Julian Montes, 30, of Wellington; Tramain Reed, 33, of Riviera Beach; and Vincent Barbosa, 26, of Deerfield Beach, after the chase Wednesday. They were being held in the Broward Main Jail as of Friday night.
A Drug Enforcement Administration agent was surveilling Barbosa, a convicted felon who was actively on felony probation, before the pursuit began. The agent told Florida Highway Patrol troopers that Barbosa had a kilogram of cocaine with him and was heading south on Florida’s Turnpike near Commercial Boulevard in a Chevy Silverado, according to a probable cause affidavit.
A trooper attempted to pull the truck over after seeing that the front passenger, later identified as Reed, was not wearing a seatbelt. Montes, who was driving the truck, sped up and fled south on the Turnpike, the affidavit said, with Barbosa sitting in the back seat.
One of the pursuing troopers unsuccessfully attempted twice to disable the truck by intentionally crashing into it, called a Precision Immobilization Technique, or PIT, maneuver. The affidavit said that trooper’s cruiser blew a tire, and two other troopers continued the chase.
Dashcam video released by FHP showed one trooper quickly trailing the truck, weaving in and out of the far right lane about 4:30 p.m. The truck slammed on its brakes as the cruiser was to its left, and the pursuing trooper slammed into the driver’s side of the truck.
The trooper’s cruiser was then redirected toward the center lane where the front of the cruiser hit the passenger side of another car uninvolved in the chase, the dashcam video showed.
The trooper then used the cruiser to force the truck to the right shoulder of the Turnpike, where the truck smashed into the guardrail and turned facing oncoming traffic in the far-right lane near exit 54 in the area of Davie and Plantation.
The second pursuing trooper parked directly in front of the disabled truck. At least two troopers were seen in the video surrounding the truck with their guns drawn, and the men got out with their hands up. One of the men was lying face down in the far right lane of the Turnpike as he was handcuffed.
Barbara Stieper was riding in the passenger seat with her husband Nelson driving, on the way to visit relatives when the trooper’s cruiser crashed into them. The snowbirds from Michigan were “a little shaken up” but were not injured, she told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“I saw nothing,” she said. “I was in the passenger side, the side that was hit, and I never saw anything coming.”
Nelson said he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the cars speeding up to them.
“The next thing you know — boom!” he said.
Their car is likely totaled, but they said they feel lucky, albeit nervous when they had to drive on Interstate 95 the next day.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Aviation Unit followed the chase and recorded video of the men tossing things out of the front passenger window of the truck, the affidavit said. Authorities found just over 1,000 grams of cocaine in a bag, a Glock 29 with 10 rounds, a Glock 20 with a missing magazine and a Ruger LCP pistol with four rounds in they area when they searched.
While in an interview at the Plantation Police Department, Barbosa said they were on the way to sell the cocaine for $20,000, according to the affidavit. He and Reed threw the drugs and guns out of the window, Barbosa told troopers.
Each of the men were previously convicted of felony charges.
Reed is facing one count of armed cocaine trafficking less than 150 kilograms and two counts of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, jail records show. Barbosa is facing one count of armed cocaine trafficking less than 150 kilograms and Montes is facing one count of armed cocaine trafficking less than 150 kilograms, one count of aggravated fleeing with injury or damage, one count of battery on an officer and one count of resisting an officer with violence.