OKEECHOBEE — On Dec. 23, four people were arrested after a traffic stop and charged with obstructing without violence. At approximately 2 p.m., a member of the Okeechobee Narcotics Task force observed a dark blue Audi with dark window tint in the 200 block of Southeast 16th Avenue. He performed a traffic stop and four people — three women and one man — exited the vehicle. The officer asked everyone if there was anyone else in the car and explained one of the other officers had seen Gerardo Baltazar, wearing a red hat and standing beside the vehicle, at the Racetrac earlier. They all denied there was anyone else in the vehicle. He also asked if there were any illegal drugs in the vehicle and they denied this as well, but K-9 Samba alerted to the driver’s side door.
The officer attempted to search the vehicle but found the doors locked. When he asked for the keys, he was told they were inside the vehicle. While he was attempting to open the door with a lockout kit, Baltazar reportedly jumped into the driver’s seat, started the car and began backing toward the patrol car, the other officer and the four people who had been in the vehicle with him. Baltazar then reportedly fled the scene, colliding with a Ford pickup as he left.
All four of the people from the car allegedly said they had no idea who the man driving the car was.
The vehicle was found later in the 2900 block of Northwest 47th Terrace, and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Baltazar for fleeing or eluding, driving without a valid license and leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage.