Alleged taxi cab thief faces multiple charges
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The man who allegedly stole a taxi cab and led police on a hot pursuit on Tuesday faced a judge Wednesday afternoon.
Wearing a large bandage below his right eye, Lazaro Castellon appeared before Circuit Judge Victoria R. Brennan. He is being held at the Miami-Dade County jail on at least nine charges including, fleeing police officers, putting people in danger and possession of at least two different kinds of drugs at the time of arrest.
After a cross-county chase, police were finally able to arrest Castellon on Tuesday evening. They said he put a lot of people in danger while he led police on a chase in a stolen taxi cab.
Police cornered the stolen cab in a shopping center on Flamingo Road in Miramar. Castellon bailed out and officers shot him with a Taser. He stumbled and ripped out the Taser lines and kept sprinting. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper and half a dozen officers tackled him and finally were able to slap cuffs on him. "When he was apprehended, they searched him, they did seize drugs on his possession," said a police officer.
Castellon's charges date back to Saturday, when police said he stole the cab in Northwest Miami-Dade. Authorities spotted the vehicle Tuesday at Dolphin Mall in West Miami-Dade. "We were running tags randomly, and it happened to hit," said Sweetwater Police spokeswoman Michelle Hammontree-Garcia as she described the moment police discovered the car Castellon was driving was stolen. "That's when we decided to conduct the traffic stop."
As an officer in Sweetwater tried to pull Castellon over, he took off and was bent on ditching officers. "A second officer saw him in Northwest 58th Street and tried to stop him there, and he went over a median," Hammontree-Garcia said.
From there, Castellon picked up speed, tearing north on the Turnpike and weaving in and out of rush hour traffic at around 6 p.m. The cab spun out of control sweeping across all four lanes of traffic, missing cars, kicking up dirt and then taking off again doing 113 miles per hour. "He was all over the place," said Hammontree-Garcia, "And they stayed back, they stayed very far, because if you notice [the video], he's usually in the shot alone. We stayed about a mile back."
An undercover officer tried to stop him by side-swiping him, but the collision did nothing to slow him down. Castellon kept on fleeing, heading on Interstate 75 east and getting off at Miramar Parkway.
He barreled right through the arm of a gated community in Miramar, U-turned and kept on going.
Meanwhile, the guard inside had been watching the chase on TV. "I heard the car breaking inside. He hit the cone, came here, shouted, 'Let me through, let me through!' By the time I could press the button, he hit the gas, took off the arm and sped around and went away."
The driver then split lanes, ran a red light and almost caused another accident before police were able to end his getaway.
Castellon is now in jail and is being held on at least nine different charges. He is being held on $24,500 bond.
He caused at least three accidents, but nobody was hurt.
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