Key Biscayne

A man is missing after escaping police traffic stop by jumping into the bay

Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press
Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press Miami Herald File

Two suspects took to the water to flee a traffic stop in Key Biscayne early Wednesday morning, and police still can’t find one of them.

A Key Biscayne police officer noticed a pickup truck full of bicycles leaving the village around 3 a.m., and after a rash of bike thefts in the area, she decided to stop the truck and ask questions, said Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press. But once she tried to stop the truck, which turned out to be stolen from Broward County, it took off.

The chase was picked up by a Miami-Dade police cruiser, which was behind the truck on the William Powell Bridge. The next thing police knew, the two men dove over the side of the bridge and started swimming.

Police were able to coax one man back to shore, where he was promptly arrested. His name has not been released, but Press said he has a lengthy felony record.

Boats, planes and helicopters have roamed the area ever since in a search for the missing man. Press said the suspect appeared to be in distress, but he was 100 yards offshore when police lost track of him.

“They last saw his head going under the water,” Press said.

The search, turned recovery, effort continued into Wednesday morning, but Press said police aren’t discounting the suspect’s possible escape by land. Press said someone reported seeing a wet man running through Bayshore early Wednesday, but police haven’t found the suspicious person yet.

Press said the tide was headed toward Bayshore, so a strong swimmer could have made it all the way to the Miami Beach neighborhood.

“It’s easy to assume that could be our bad guy, but until we find out one way or another we’ll continue to search,” Press said.

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc