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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Ocala man leads deputies on 100-mph chase for ‘fun’

A 19-year-old Ocala man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly leading Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a high-speed chase because he thought it would be “fun.”

On Saturday, February 3, an MCSO corporal was on patrol near the intersection of SW 38th Street and SW 80th Avenue when a silver BMW sedan was observed running a red light. The vehicle was traveling at speeds of around 100 miles per hour as it continued through the intersection, heading southbound on 80th Avenue, according to the arrest report.

After activating the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and siren, the corporal attempted to catch up to the sedan as it continued traveling at speeds in excess of 100mph. The report stated that the sedan drove around other cars and veered into the oncoming lane while traveling at high rates of speed.

When the sedan reached the 7900 block of SW 80th Avenue, the driver – later identified as Michael Joseph Gonzalez – lost control of the vehicle. Moments after the sedan spun out in the grass on the west side of the roadway, Gonzalez spotted the corporal’s patrol vehicle, and he “sped off again going southbound on 80th Avenue” at speeds exceeding 90mph, according to the report.

Michael Joseph Gonzalez
Michael Joseph Gonzalez, 19, of Ocala

As the sedan fled, it was observed running another red light. The corporal caught up to the vehicle and attempted a pursuit intervention technique (P.I.T.) maneuver, which was unsuccessful. The report stated that the sedan continued to travel at speeds of over 90mph, running vehicles off the roadway and “showing a wanton disregard for the safety of the public.”

Additional MCSO units responded to the area of SW 49th Avenue and SW 103rd Street Road, and a sergeant spotted the sedan traveling northbound on 49th Avenue. The report stated that a traffic stop was initiated, and the pursuit came to an end when the sedan pulled into a nearby 7-Eleven gas station.

Gonzalez was removed from the sedan and detained in handcuffs. After being read his Miranda rights, he stated that he fled from law enforcement because “he thought he could get away.” He further stated that he thought fleeing “would be fun,” according to the report.

A search of Gonzalez’s driver’s license revealed that it was valid, and no contraband was found in the sedan.

Gonzalez was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was released the following day after posting a $5,000 bond. He is being charged with fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer with disregard of safety to persons or property.

A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, according to jail records.