MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A high speed police chase on the streets of Miami ended with a few injured officers Friday afternoon. But the fugitive they were after was in jail by Friday evening.
It was about 2 p.m. when a Miami police sergeant spotted a red Nissan Altima that Lauderhill police had been looking for since the night before.
Lauderhill police said the man driving it, 34-year-old Keith Michel, stabbed his girlfriend several times at their home Thursday night then took off in her Altima.
As a Miami sergeant tried to pull over, he stepped on the gas and the chase was on, starting at NW 7th Ave. and 13th St.
Chopper4 followed Miami police as they were in hot pursuit of the suspect.
The red car would speed up as it moved through intersections, take side streets and almost hit other cars.
At one point, a Miami police convoy of six cruisers pursued him.
“Officers pursued this subject believed to be involved in a homicide through Miami and the streets of Miami,” said Javier Ortiz, head of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.
There was even a discharge of a firearm at NE 1st Ave. and 8th St.
“During the course of that pursuit two Miami police officers discharged their firearms. However no one was struck. The two Miami officers who were injured were struck by the offending vehicle,” Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes said.
The car finally crashed near North Miami restaurant at 119th St. and 11th Ave. at around 1:50 p.m.
Police swarmed the vehicle but that didn’t stop the driver from reversing. That’s when officers sent in their K9 units to quell the driver.
Once the driver stopped reversing, at least a dozen officers ordered him out of the vehicle and onto the ground.
“The Miami Dade Police Department as well as the City of Miami did an incredible job. They used incredible restraint because when that subject put that car into reverse they could have easily shot him and they took into consideration that right behind them was a restaurant with people dining so these are the things that they considered so I hope everyone when they see a cop they thank a cop,” Ortiz said.
Buster the K9 is OK, as are the other two officers who were hurt.
Lt. Greg Solowsky of the Lauderhill Police Department is relieved such a dangerous person is off the streets.
“This was a vicious attack and we’re very thankful that this violent individual off the streets,” Solowsky said. “You saw what he did when the police officers tried to stop him. So based on his actions from yesterday and today I’d say he’s extremely dangerous.”
A search shows Michel has a criminal history dating back to at least 2005. He went to prison for crimes ranging from grand theft to robbery to battery of an officer.
Michel’s girlfriend learned police caught him as she recovers from the attack.
“She’s extremely grateful the Dade County professionals took this violent person off the streets and very happy with the outcome,” Solowsky said.
A lunchtime crowd at El Conuquito Restaurant was stunned by what happened.
“What I saw was the car crash and I ran over to the bathroom,” said witness Jesus Campusano.
“Just heard a crash,” said another witness, Patricia Martinez. “Just grateful I got out and ran to the kitchen.”
“I was shocked. Very shocked at what was going on,” said North Miami resident Jewel Regnier.
Regnier learned of the police pursuit while watching CBS4.
“I was watching my soaps on channel 4 and they were interrupted,” he said. “I saw a car chase downtown. It started in Downtown MIami and went by Jackson and the streets.”
The police union president says the incident shows how dangerous the job can be.
“We work a 10-hour shift and maybe there are nine hours and 50 minutes where nothing happens, but it is 10 minutes you pay for,” Ortiz said. “He took every chance he possibly could, and fortunately our Miami police officers with Miami Dade were able to take him into custody – take the subject into custody and thank god nobody else was hurt.”
Michel is charged with attempted murder, with more charges possible.
He was booked Friday night at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami-Dade.