Deputy led on 4-mile chase, says report

OKEECHOBEE — An Okeechobee man was taken into custody early Tuesday morning after leading deputies on a pursuit throughout the southeast section of the city and county.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Leland Schoonmaker stated in his arrest report the pursuit lasted 9 minutes and covered 4.4 miles.

The pursuit ended when Steven Alderete struck another OCSO deputy’s patrol vehicle on S.E. Eighth Avenue. Alderete was taken into custody when his 1996 Pontiac came to a stop at 1409 S.E. Eighth Ave.

Alderete, 27, N.E. 28th Ave., was arrested Oct. 6 on felony charges of assault on a law enforcement officer (two counts), resisting a law enforcement officer with violence and failure to obey an order to stop.

Steven Alderete, 27.

Steven Alderete, 27.

He is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail pending his first appearance before a judge Wednesday morning. His bond will be set at that time.

According to the deputy’s arrest report the pursuit started shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday when he tried to stop the driver of the black Pontiac. That driver, later identified as Alderete, was doing 60 mph in a 35 mph zone on S.R. 70 East, indicated the deputy.

Deputy Schoonmaker stated when he turned on his emergency lights, Alderete increased his speed instead of stopping. By the time Alderete had reached S.E. Seventh Street he, and the deputy, were traveling at speeds up to 70 mph.

The deputy was ordered to back off the pursuit by his immediate supervisor, so he turned off his emergency lights and siren and followed Alderete at a safe distance.

“While following this vehicle at a distance and keeping it in sight, the vehicle came to a dead end at S.E. 23rd Street,” stated the deputy. “The suspect vehicle drove off the roadway at the dead end and I stopped in the middle of S.E. 23rd Street, turned on my emergency lights and exited my patrol vehicle.”

The deputy went on to state Alderete turned around in a yard at the end of the street and drove toward Deputy Schoonmaker.

“The vehicle came directly at me as if it was attempting to run me over, causing me to jump out of the way,” continued the report.

Alderete continued on and the deputy returned to his vehicle and again gave chase.

The chase finally ended when Alderete allegedly drove through a yard in the 500 block of S.E. Eighth Avenue, then struck the door of OCSO Deputy John Hazy’s F-150 patrol unit.

OCSO public information officer Michele Bell said the damage to the pickup’s door was estimated at $400.

After hitting the truck, Alderete finally stopped on S.E. Eighth Avenue.

Deputy Schoonmaker said Alderete was taken to Raulerson Hospital where he was treated and released. At that point, he was placed under arrest.

“There was a small dog in Steven’s vehicle, and it was turned over to (Okeechobee County) animal control,” the deputy pointed out.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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