Driving construction equipment seems like a lot of fun to a lot of people. Many children grow up playing with toy backhoes and other heavy machinery replicas, including myself. It’s not totally advisable to take them from job sites and try to flee from police though, they don’t move very fast.
In a 21st century version of the OJ Simpson police chase, a 59 year old man lead Monroe County, Florida police on a very low speed chase over the Seven Mile Bridge, dragging an attached hammer the entire way. As sparks flew off the back of the machine, the cops had no choice but to follow closely behind until the suspect either gave up or the backhoe was stopped. The bridge was closed for over 3 hours, as the suspect, identified by Monroe County police as Carl Blahnik, changed directions several times, causing tons of damage, including hitting one of the pursuing police cars.
Around 1:20am, the police were finally able to stop the backhoe with a spike strip and promptly arrested the man. He was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, disturbing a street or highway, failing to register a vehicle, and grand theft of a vehicle.
Dash cam footage from Deputy Orlando Alvarez’s car was released shortly after, which you can watch below. Special thanks to Alex Barthet from The Lien Zone for making us aware of the video!
So, while many may find the video very entertaining to watch, there are a few things that the contractor could have done to avoid this theft that we’ve discussed before. Backhoes and other relatively small construction equipment is the most likely to be stolen, and several tips for preventing theft can be found by clicking this link to read our article.
Full story: Man arrested after taking backhoe for a dangerous joyride on the Seven Mile Bridge | Monroe County Sheriff's Department