Port Orange, FL-A Port Orange police officer hit and hurt by a fleeing vehicle early today is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The officer is in stable condition with a broken elbow. A 16-year-old male suspect is in custody. Walter Rodriguez is charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, aggravated battery on an officer, aggravated assault on another officer, using a vehicle in the commission of a felony, possession of less than 20 grams of pot and having no driver’s license.
Police say it happened around 3:30 AM when Officer Vastell, a 17-year veteran of the force, was putting down the Stop Sticks on Madeline Avenue near Clyde Morris Blvd. Rodriguez swerved toward Vastell, who was hit on the hip by the left bumper of the car. He fell to the ground, injuring his elbow.
A pursuit was authorized and Officer Nolan, with three years on the force, chased the fleeing vehicle. Rodriguez led Nolan south on Ridgewood Avenue, turning onto White Place, spinning the vehicle and stopped. Nolan stepped out of his vehicle with gun drawn and ordered Rodriguez to show his hands. He refused and started driving toward Nolan. Nolan was able to get in his patrol car and is not injured. He believes Rodriguez was aiming at him.
Rodriguez drove past Officer Nolan who again followed. He went south on Ridgewood, then made a u-turn, and headed north past Nova Road when the vehicle jerked and rolled into the median. Rodriguez was then arrested without incident
Police say minutes before the vehicle crashed, an officer on patrol at The Pavilion spotted what appeared to be a suspicious vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop. The vehicle took off at speeds estimated at 80 to 100 MPH through Port Orange.
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