Police officers respond to auto theft and shooting

Posted 1/26/24

Officer Nails with the Okeechobee Police Department, was returning from a call of service when he was notified …

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Police officers respond to auto theft and shooting


OKEECHOBEE — On Tuesday, Jan. 23, at approximately 10 p.m., Officer Derek Nails with the Okeechobee City Police Department, was returning from a call of service when he was notified by dispatch that a stolen vehicle was traveling in the area.

Once the description was obtained, Officer Nails located the silver in color, Honda passenger car traveling westbound from the overpass. Once the officer was behind the vehicle, the driver began switching lanes and abruptly made a left turn on Southeast 16th Avenue and proceeded to accelerate at a high rate of speed.

It was at this time, the officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle and activated his lights and sirens. The vehicle was estimated to be traveling at 61 mph in a 25 mph residential area.

The driver lost control of the vehicle between the intersection of SE 7th Street and SE 16th Avenue, causing the vehicle to crash into a ditch, striking a culvert pipe. The vehicle then jumped the culvert, causing it to turn sideways, and crash into the police officer’s vehicle.

The suspect bailed out of the vehicle and fled westbound on foot. While on foot, he left behind his pants, shoes, cell phone and ID card. He was not apprehended. Officer Nails did not sustain any injuries in the accident. Since this is an ongoing investigation, the suspect information is not being released at this time.

In a separate incident, On Monday, Jan. 22,  at approximately 8 p.m., The Okeechobee Police Department responded to the area of Northwest 12th Street; 800 block, in reference to a shooting. When officers arrived, two vehicles were on scene and suspects had fled on foot.

Officers located a male subject who stated he was involved and was claiming the other party left in another vehicle, driven by a female. After further investigation, the male claimed he was “jumped” earlier by the unknown subjects and went to speak to them. Before anything could be addressed, he claimed that they started to shoot at him, to which he returned fire. No injuries were reported from the shooting. This is an ongoing active investigation, more information will be released at a later time.