A Fort Myers man attempts to elude CCSO deputies in an I-75 pursuit
After a daring pursuit, where the arresting deputy stated the driver was “a great risk of serious bodily injury or death” to the public, a Fort Myers man has been arrested.
Luis Jose Lopez, 42, faces charges for Flee/Elude With Disregard for the Safety of Persons or Property, Aggravated Assault on LEO, DUI 1st Offense, DUI Property Damage, and Resisting Arrest Without Violence.
On Thursday, a Collier County Sheriff’s Office Deputy responded to a call in regards to a wrong-way driver on Interstate 75. The black Land Rover SUV was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes.
The Deputy approached Lopez at mile marker 99. Lopez made a U-turn, then moving eastbound on the eastbound lanes, traveling at speeds of 20 mph to 25 mph. Lopez was seen straddling the right lane line and the right break down lane. He did not stop as the Deputy drove to his side.
The Deputy pulled ahead of the vehicle, which maneuvered Lopez to stop on the side of the road. The Deputy walked towards the door. When asked how he was doing, Lopez responded, “not good,” per the press release.
Upon command, Lopez put the vehicle in park but did not hand the Deputy his keys. Moments later, Lopez shifted the vehicle into drive as he accelerated rapidly.
The Deputy returned to his vehicle to continue the pursuit of Lopez on I-75.
At this point, Lopez was driving erratically between 40 mph and 50 mph. At times, Lopez would slow down to 10 mph to 12 mph, then proceed to speed up again. The Deputy made the decision that Lopez was “a danger to the public and needed to be stopped as quickly and effectively as possible,” per the press release.
After a failed maneuver to stop the vehicle, Lopez once again made a U-turn in the direction of westbound on the westbound lanes. During the pursuit, Lopez nearly hit other vehicles. A second Deputy maneuvered to stop the vehicle, which once again failed, leading Lopez to make another U-turn on I-75.
The Deputy now believed Lopez was “a great risk of serious bodily injury or death to the general motoring public,” according to the CCSO press release. The Deputy accelerated swiftly. Lopez attempted a U-turn. Despite spinning out of control for moments, Lopez regained control and proceeded the wrong way on I-75.
As the Deputy came to Lopez’s vehicle, he struck the right rear portion, which made Lopez spin. Lopez accelerated and drove back over to the westbound lanes of travel moving westbound. But Lopez would soon lose control of the vehicle, coming to rest on a guardrail barrier with the front wheel straddling it.
His vehicle was stuck despite Lopez’s best attempts to accelerate. He soon crawled out of the vehicle. When Lopez did not respond to verbal commands, a Deputy tasered him but Lopez still tried to resist as he was arrested.
Between his arrest and the arrival of emergency services, Lopez continued his unusual mannerisms, screaming at times and asserting the Deputies were construction workers trying to “get him,” per the press release.