Midtown

Hit-and-run suspect who drove through sledgehammer attack ticketed 29 times in 10 years

The hit-and-run suspect who rolled away from Sunday’s four-car midtown Miami crash and through a sledgehammer attack, dragging a fender, appeared to “be high on narcotics,” according to his arrest report.

Aventura 25-year-old Maxwell Lagutenko definitely owns a past pockmarked by drug arrests, bad driving and other questionable decisions.

As of 12:30 p.m. Monday, Lagutenko remained in Miami-Dade County jail on $5,000 bond on charges of fleeing and eluding a police officer. Lagutenko also received citations for reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, his 19th and 20th traffic citations in Miami-Dade County in the last eight years.

Miami.com: The stars of the hit-and-run sledgehammer video are the heroes Miami deserves

Of the first 18 such citations, Lagutenko was found guilty 11 times and paid $2,387 in fines. His violations range from running a red light, which he got busted for twice in four days in 2013, to driving on the wrong side of the road. Lagutenko’s been ticketed nine times in Broward County also, but only convicted once, on a failure to wear a seat belt, a $127 fine.

On the criminal side, he’s gotten probation on convictions of delivering oxycodone; possession of drug paraphernalia and cocaine; possession of a controlled substance; and violating a restraining order.

Witnesses told police that Lagutenko, heading north on Biscayne Boulevard around 2:30 p.m., crossed the median at about Northeast 34th Street and hit one southbound car. Undeterred by the oncoming traffic, he kept going north in the southbound lanes and crashed into two more cars at the major Northeast 36th Street intersection.

Other people got out of their cars to deal with the damage. Video caught Lagutenko lurching in reverse, torn-off front grill suspended like an extension of the passenger side. The windshield wipers slid back and forth on the dry windshield.

Lagutenko got around the corner to head west on 36th Street until blocked by a car intentionally angled across both lanes. As other involved drivers banged on Lagutenko’s crossover to get him to stop, the driver of an uninvolved eastbound van who was stopped at the light got involved. He got out of the van with a sledgehammer and bashed the driver’s side of Lagutenko’s crossover several times. The hammering van driver has not been arrested or ticketed.

Eventually, Lagutenko slithered through the traffic and escaped. Police say he headed north on Federal Highway, refusing to stop for a patrol car at 48th Street. Miami police cut off pursuit in accordance with department policy on non-violent crimes. The report is unclear on how Miami Fire Rescue 6 wound up with Lagutenko, who was identified as the driver when brought back to the scene of the accident.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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