Florida Keys

Motorcycle rider zooming past school drop-off at 100 mph takes cops on chase


A Miami-Dade County man led Monroe deputies on a dangerous, high-speed motorcycle chase that began in Marathon and ended in Key Largo Wednesday morning.

Sheriff’s Office deputies say Daniel Mendez-Perez, 19, even whipped past a school in Tavernier during drop-off time at more than 100 mph before he was finally stopped by Deputy Matthew Koval seven miles farther up U.S. 1.

Mendez-Perez was first reported driving recklessly and passing other vehicles on the right on his 2016 Kawasaki at mile marker 55, according to Koval’s arrest affidavit. Deputies began chasing him around mile marker 66, but they couldn’t keep up.

Capt. Corey Bryan, the Sheriff’s Office district commander for the Village of Islamorada, began chasing Mendez-Perez at mile marker 87. Bryan said Mendez-Perez was traveling at speeds over 80 mph through the village. Mendez-Perez ran red lights at the intersections of U.S. 1 and Plantation Avenue and then at Ocean Boulevard.

Koval was on the shoulder of U.S. 1 at mile marker 92.3, in front of Ocean Studies Charter School, when Mendez-Perez sped by his patrol car going three digits. As he passed the school, parents were dropping off their children for the day. Koval turned his lights and sirens on and began chasing the Kawasaki.

At mile marker 94, Koval got close enough to see Mendez-Perez, who kept looking back at the deputy. Koval reported that Mendez-Perez was weaving in and out of lanes at speeds of between 90 and 110 mph. At mile marker 98, traffic was congested and Koval was able to pull beside Mendez-Perez and yell at him to pull over. Mendez-Perez slowed considerably, but then took off again.

Finally, a half a mile farther, Koval was able to get in front of Mendez-Perez and block his bike between his patrol car and the guard rail on the right side of the highway. A reserve deputy riding with Koval cuffed Mendez-Perez.

Mendez-Perez had a passenger on the Kawasaki, a 17-year-old girl from Marathon. Deputies took her back home.

Mendez-Perez was booked into county jail on felony fleeing and eluding the police, a misdemeanor charge of carrying two valid driver’s licenses and another misdemeanor for not having a motorcycle endorsement on his license. His bond had not been set as of Wednesday afternoon.

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204