MARATHON (CBSMiami) — A man was arrested early Sunday after crashing a pickup truck and jumping into the ocean in an attempt to flee from law enforcement.
Nicholas James Tralka, 31, of Marathon was charged with hit-and-run, fleeing and eluding, DUI, DUI with property damage and resisting arrest.
A Middle Keys deputy on patrol noticed a pickup truck exit a bar parking lot near 105th Street and U.S. 1 in Marathon at a high rate of speed.
The deputy attempted to pull over the pickup truck after it struck the concrete median separating the north and southbound lanes of U.S. 1.
Tralka initially appeared to be stopping before taking off at a high rate of speed, swerving erratically between both northbound lanes and at times exceeding 100 miles per hour.
Deputies down the road put tire spikes in the truck’s path, which it ran over and continued northbound before crashigng into a light post, a palm tree and the Duck Key entrance sign.
Tralka then ran away from the crash, jumped over a seawall and into the water, swimming toward Toms Harbor Channel Bridge.
A good Samaritan told alerted deputies that a man was hiding underneath the bridge and holding onto a piling.
Key Colony Beach Police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived on scene and brought Tralka on board their vessel.
Tralka was taken to jail where his blood-alcohol level was recorded at .214. The legal limit in Florida is .08.
A search of his truck found three empty 100-ml Fireball whiskey bottles and one full bottle.