Saturday, November 30, 2013

Driver Rams Melbourne Cop Car

MELBOURNE, Florida -- Just after 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning, a Melbourne Police officer saw a vehicle speeding southbound on US-1 near Old Colonial Way at 20 MPH over the posted speed limit. The officer then attempted to stop the vehicle as it pulled into the parking lot of the Kangaroo Express located at Parkway Drive and US-1.

As the vehicle pulled into the parking lot, police say the driver, 28-year-old Brandon Lemar Culver of Apopka, Florida, jumped into the backseat of the car, forcing the front seat passenger to move into the driver seat and stop the vehicle before it struck the convenience store.

When the officer made contact with Culver in the back seat, Culver allegedly refused to cooperate with the officer's instructions and a physical altercation ensued where Culver pushed the officer and fled from the vehicle. The officer then engaged in a foot pursuit after Culver who eventually made it back to the vehicle.

Culver then allegedly attempted to push the passenger out of the vehicle to steal the car. Police say Culver kept yelling at the passenger, who was now sitting in the driver seat, to run the officer over, but the passenger refused. Culver was eventually able to get the vehicle into reverse and push on the gas. This caused the officer to have to jump out of the way of the moving vehicle. When Culver drove in reverse, he struck the front of the officer's vehicle.

Culver then was finally successful in pushing the passenger out of the vehicle. Culver drove the vehicle around the building into a dead end. When Culver turned the vehicle around, he was pointed directly at the officer as he was detaining the passenger for investigation.

Police say that Culver then pushed on the gas, accelerating directly at the officer.  The officer drew his firearm in fear for the safety of the passenger and himself.  Culver swerved at the last minute, narrowly missing a police vehicle and a delivery truck.  Culver then drove out to US-1 traveling northbound at a high rate of speed.

Police immediately engaged in a vehicle pursuit with Culver who drove northbound on US-1 into the City of Rockledge, Florida.  Deputies from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office were able to deploy a tire deflation device into the roadway and strike two of Culver’s tires. With two tires rapidly losing air, Culver jumped out of the vehicle as it continued northbound, unoccupied. The vehicle eventually came to a rest after jumping a curb and striking a crosswalk signal. 

Culver then ran into the parking lot at Wuesthoff Hospital.  After a short foot pursuit, Culver was finally arrested by Melbourne Police Officers.  

Police say that Culver’s license and criminal history shows his license was suspended over 20 times, with one suspension for a previous fleeing and eluding charge. Culver is also currently on probation for fleeing and eluding.