He ran red lights, drove into oncoming traffic — and tried to run over cops, they say

Mario Echemendia
Mario Echemendia Miami-Dade Corrections

Mario Echemendia had a thing for trying to run over cops, Hialeah police said.

Three times in less than six months, 51-year-old Echemendia either attempted or succeeded in ramming an officer with his vehicle and got away — all with a license that was revoked in 2017, according to police. He was finally arrested Friday.

Hialeah police’s first encounter with Echemendia, on Nov. 9, started with an officer who saw a white Cadillac attempting to drive off the road to pass cars waiting at a red light. According to the police report, when the cop pulled him over and walked up to the window, Echemendia sped off into oncoming traffic, eluding the officer.

Police didn’t see Echemendia again until New Year’s Eve.

A cop saw him crash into another car with his orange Polaris Slingshot motorcycle and tried to approach him. But police said Echemendia reversed his motorcycle in the cop’s direction, which the officer narrowly avoided by jumping out of the way.

Again, Echemendia fled and police didn’t catch him.

On March 1, Hialeah police found Echemendia again, this time parked in a silver Nissan SUV in front of a closed bank. When the officer approached the car, Echemendia reversed into the cop car parked behind him, causing what police say was about $1,000 of damage to the bumper, and hit the officer with the open driver’s side door.

He took off, with the officer in pursuit, and swerved through traffic, ran red lights, ran over the sidewalk and eventually lost the cop.

A week later, a Hialeah police sergeant “observed Mr. Echemendia” at a private home and “took him into custody without incident.”

Echemendia is charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, criminal mischief, fleeing police and knowingly driving with a suspended license.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Alex Harris covers climate change for the Miami Herald, including how South Florida communities are adapting to the warming world. She attended the University of Florida.
Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.