Biker leads cops on high-speed chase

OKEECHOBEE — A man is being held on bond in the county jail after he led local law enforcement on a 5.2-mile chase at speeds topping 60 mph earlier this week.

Anthony Bonnett

Anthony Lee Bonnett

Arrested Tuesday, Dec. 29, was Anthony Lee Bonnett, 24, N.E. 120th St., Okeechobee. He is charged with the felonies of fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, resisting a law enforcement officer with violence and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer (two counts).

Bonnett was also arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana under 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, speeding and running a stop sign.

He is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail on a total bond of $228,500.

The alleged chase began at the intersection of S.R. 70 East and U.S. 441 North and continued into the northwest section of the county, and involved several Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) personnel as well as Chief Denny Davis and Detective Sergeant Bettye Taylor from the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD).

A report by OCSO Deputy William Jolly indicated the chase began when dispatchers told deputies to watch for a motorcycle coming into town at a high rate of speed and driving erratically.

Not long after the BOLO was issued, the red and black Suzuki GSXR pulled up behind OCSO Detective Corporal Ted Van Deman, who was stopped at the traffic light at S.R. 70 East and U.S. 441 North.

When the detective got out of his vehicle and approached the motorcycle, the operator of the Suzuki sped way and soon passed by OCSO Deputy Yero Todman at the intersection of N.W. Fifth Avenue and S.R. 70 West. The deputy activated his emergency lights and siren but the driver of the motorcycle, later identified as Bonnett, would not stop, continued the report.

Reports indicate Bonnett had a female passenger on the back of the motorcycle.

Following at a safe distance, Deputy Todman kept other members of law enforcement apprised of Bonnett’s every move and most current location.

This continued until Deputy Todman lost sight of the Suzuki.

But, Deputy Jolly soon saw the Suzuki in the 4500 block of N.W. 30th Street and when he approached the motorcycle he noticed the female was no longer on the back of the bike.

“As I approached the scene I observed Detective Taylor attempting to detain the male subject on the motorcycle. I also observed Chief Davis with the passenger laying motionless on the roadway,” stated Deputy Jolly’s report.

According to the chief’s statement, when he and Sgt. Taylor saw the motorcycle on N.W. 30th Street they got out of their vehicle and drew their weapons on Bonnett.

“The subject accelerated, crashing onto the roadway causing the female passenger to be ejected from the motorcycle,” stated the chief. “The subject picked up his motorcycle from the roadway and started the engine in an attempt to continue fleeing without regard to the female passenger or her injuries.”

At that point, continued Deputy Jolly’s report, both Chief Davis and Sgt. Taylor grabbed Bonnet by the arms but instead of stopping him the two veteran officers were dragged a short distance along the road.

Bonnett then ran into a white Ford Ranger pickup and crashed into the ditch on the south side of N.W. 30th Street, added the report.

The driver of the pickup reportedly told Deputy Jolly when he saw the chief and detective trying to stop the Suzuki he positioned his vehicle in front of the motorcycle to keep it from speeding away.

Although Bonnett apparently continued to resist the officers, he was handcuffed then taken to Raulerson Hospital.

A report by Deputy Brant Harden stated a small container with suspected marijuana was found in Bonnett’s pocket. When the deputy tested the substance, that test allegedly indicated a positive result for the presence of pot. The suspected pot weighed 4 grams, added Deputy Harden.

Deputy Jolly spoke with the female passenger but she was not charged. The deputy’s report does not state if the woman was injured or received medical attention.

Bonnett’s arraignment has been set for Feb. 4, 2016, at 10 a.m.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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