A teenager stole an SUV in South Miami-Dade Tuesday morning, then led police on a wild two-hour chase that snaked south on Florida’s Turnpike, then north along the Palmetto Expressway and up I-95 past Dania Beach.
Police eventually corralled the white Chevy Tahoe after it blew out its left rear tire, its bald rim tearing up parts of Northwest 183rd Street before it came to a stop just west of 37th Avenue.
There, police from Miami-Dade and Miami Gardens sprinted from their vehicle, weapons drawn. They surrounded the Chevy, opened the driver’s side door, and yanked Alain Moss, 15, who was too young to legally drive, to the ground. He was wearing black shorts and was shirtless.
Moss, who lives in Miami Gardens, near where he was captured, was taken into custody and placed in the back of a Miami-Dade patrol car. He was charged with grand theft, fleeing and eluding police, aggravated assault and driving without a legal license.
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“We don’t know what made him do it. He’s a juvenile in a stolen vehicle,” said Miami-Dade Police Lt. John Jenkins. “It’s fortunate no one got injured. It actually could have ended a lot worse.”
The gripping two-hour journey covered two counties, involved at least four law enforcement agencies and traversed more than 100 miles, played out live as television news crews delivered the play-by-play from helicopters.
During Moss’ odyssey, he careened in and out of traffic, crossed medians into oncoming vehicles and deftly maneuvered out of several possible head-on collisions. At one point Moss drove the vehicle slowly up an exit ramp to I-95 in North Dade, before turning 180 degrees and heading in the right direction.
“We’re elated this didn’t end more gravely,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Marjorie Eloi.
Police said the initial call that a white Chevy Tahoe SUV had been stolen from a home in the 11900 block of Southwest 185th Street came in before noon.
The car’s owner told police he left the keys in the ignition and stepped into his home, and when he returned, the SUV was gone.
Officers spotted the vehicle soon after around Goulds Park at Southwest 220th Street and 114th Avenue. When Miami-Dade cops tried to stop Moss, they said he took off.
Homestead police responded as Miami-Dade followed him south on Florida’s Turnpike. At one point he hit a Homestead patrol car. Police said that’s why Moss was charged with aggravated battery on a police officer. The chase through South Miami-Dade was the only part of the incident that wasn’t filmed by TV cameras. It’s unknown if the patrol car had a camera.
Then Moss turned north, eventually heading up the Palmetto Expressway. By then, television cameras were rolling.
Moss nicked a car on the Palmetto in the Miami Lakes area, took a side street, then did a 360 on an off-ramp to the highway to avoid police. He sped along east on Hallandale Beach Boulevard in Broward, speeding through residential communities. At times he jumped curbs into oncoming traffic — but generally took it slow to avoid collisions.
He steered his vehicle south on I-95 by heading the wrong way on an exit ramp, then slowly turning the SUV 180 degrees and heading south on the highway again. The driver got as far as Dania Beach before turning the vehicle around and heading back south along I-95.
Finally, just before 2 p.m. and as Miami-Dade and Miami Gardens police were closing in, the SUV’s back driver’s side tire exploded. And yet, even with a bald rim tearing up Northwest 1983rd Street and as the car spun and skidded as he headed farther west, Moss managed to avoid several more police blockades.
They finally stopped the SUV on 183rd and 39th Court and took Moss into custody. He was placed in a Miami-Dade patrol car and driven away.