Alachua County Sheriff’s Office releases video of wrong-way pursuit that ended in crash on SW 34th Street

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The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has released a more than 8-minute dash cam video of the law enforcement pursuit of a man driving a truck reported stolen in Tampa.  That chase ended ended in a wreck on Gainesville’s Southwest 34th Street during Tuesday’s busy morning commute.

The video is a compilation of cameras from multiple law enforcement vehicles and body cams tracing the path as the chase unfolds.  The wild video shows the driver crossing into oncoming traffic multiple times during the chase narrowly missing other drivers — including a school bus — on Interstate 75, Archer Road and Southwest 34th Street. The driver rams multiple law enforcement vehicles and plows into at least two civilian vehicles.

Courtesy: Alachua County Sheriff's Office
Driver plows into a marked Sheriff’s Office vehicle and a citizen’s stopped car.

The video begins on Interstate 75 just before 7 a.m. with multiple law enforcement vehicles in pursuit. The driver exits the interstate onto Archer Road and heads westbound but in the attempt to get away turns onto the southbound offramp of I-75 and heads against traffic on the interstate.

Courtesy: Alachua County Sheriff's Office
The driver turns onto the I-75 offramp, heading the wrong way on the interstate.

According to the incident report from the Florida Highway Patrol, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deployed stop sticks near the SW Archer Road exit and successfully took out the vehicle’s rear right tire.

At 2:23 into the video, the driver swerves into oncoming traffic on Archer Road almost crashing into multiple vehicles.

Courtesy: Alachua County Sheriff's Office
Driver swerves into oncoming traffic on Archer Road nearly colliding with other drivers.

At 3:35 into the video, a deputy attempts a PIT (police immobilization technique) maneuver, tapping the back end of the passenger side of the box truck in an attempt to get the vehicle to abruptly turn 180 degrees and stop.

You can hear the police radio chatter on the video. One deputy can be heard saying the driver was going about 60 miles per hour weaving through heavy traffic on Archer Road. The driver plows through grass and concrete medians during the chase.

Once the driver turns into Gainesville’s Butler Plaza, an officer attempts another PIT maneuver.  The truck hops a curb and sidewalk and sideswipes a mini-van parked at the Best Buy.

Courtesy: Alachua County Sheriff's Office
The driver hops the curb and sideswipes a parked vehicle in the Best Buy lot.

At 5:13 into the video, the driver plows into an Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy’s car tearing off the front bumper and also damaging a citizen’s car at the same time.

At 6:55 into the video, deputies attempt another PIT maneuver and force the truck into the parking lot where Crunch Fitness and Metro Diner are located.

At 7:11 into the video, the box truck collides with a Sheriff’s Office truck.

The chase comes to an end when the driver bails out of the truck on SW 34th Street and tries to take off running.

Courtesy: Alachua County Sheriff's Office
The driver bails out of the cab and attempts to run.

At that point, several officers subdue the man and cuff him.

Courtesy: Alachua County Sheriff's Office
Multiple officers subdue the driver.

The video ends as the officers take him to the car and onscreen text, “They ain’t wrong. I ain’t blame the police. They just protecting the people.”  And, then later the man is being escorted from the vehicle and says, “I ain’t even mad at y’all cause y’all did your jobs.”

The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Brandon James Baker.  The FHP report states they placed Baker in the back of a patrol vehicle and that he managed to “bring his hands to the front of his body while still handcuffed.”  The report goes on to say that he pulled wires from under the front passenger seat, disabling the vehicle’s camera.

Courtesy: Alachua County Jail Booking Photo
Authorities arrested 33-year-old Brandon J. Baker in connection with the chase.

The trooper transported Baker to HCA Florida Millhopper Emergency to be checked out. Once medically cleared, they took him to the Alachua County Jail, where he was booked on 16 charges ranging from misdemeanors of hit-and-run and reckless driving to felonies of aggravated battery and grand theft.  Additional charges are pending from the Tampa Police Department.

A check of the Florida Department of Corrections records indicates Baker was released from prison just eight months ago after serving two and a half years on drug and weapons charges.

Despite multiple crashes, no law enforcement nor civilians were reported injured during this incident.

About Denise Vickers

Denise is the director of the Innovation News Center and WUFT News at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.

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