Lisa Maria Garza
A 24-year-old man crashed a stolen pickup truck on Sunday into an Orange County sheriff’s patrol SUV, overpowered a deputy and then drove off in the marked vehicle, leading authorities on a 2-mile chase before crashing in downtown Apopka.
The series of incidents began around 7:30 a.m. when deputies responded to a disturbance at the 6400 block of Summit Drive and encountered Vincent Joseph Botta threatening to harm himself, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Jeff Williamson.
After a brief confrontation, Botta fled from the home in a stolen 1990 Chevy pickup truck and began speeding eastbound down JMT Industrial Drive, said Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Kim Montes.
Botta lost control of the truck while making a turn onto Overland Road and crashed into the back of a parked patrol SUV, Montes said.
Deputy Michael Myles, 35, went to check on Botta after the crash — not knowing he was on the run — and the two men engaged in a fight, authorities said.
Botta was able to break free then jumped into Myles’ patrol SUV and took off toward Apopka, Williamson said.
He was spotted in the deputy’s vehicle and authorities chased him for a couple of miles but Botta caused two more crashes before they were able to catch up with him.
After the final crash, Botta got out of the stolen vehicle and charged a nearby deputy, Williamson said. Another deputy came to help and both deployed their Tasers multiple times on Botta but he was unaffected.
Eventually other deputies arrived on the scene and Botta was taken into custody, Williamson said.
Three deputies were injured trying to capture Botta and were taken to a local hospital but were later released, according to Williamson. Two civilians were hurt in the crashes and are still hospitalized in unknown condition, he added.
Botta is charged with carjacking, armed burglary to a vehicle, fleeing and eluding, and resisting with violence, Williamson said. He is still in the hospital but Williamson said he will be taken to jail after his release.
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