OKEECHOBEE — Multiple cars were forced off the road Monday night, Nov. 2 when 22-year-old Oscar Dean Russ III reportedly raced through downtown Okeechobee and then north on U.S. 441. According to Okeechobee City Police Officer Jessica Francis’ report, she was in the area of the 400 block of U.S. 441 North Monday night around 10:15 p.m. when she was advised a vehicle was fleeing an Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The vehicle approached the main intersection of U.S. 441 and State Road 70 at 69 mph. When the vehicle got to the intersection, the light was red, but the vehicle did not stop.
The white Mercedes, driven by Russ, reportedly continued north on U.S. 441 at a high rate of speed. The report notes, the top speed was approximately 137 mph. Officer Francis reports Russ drove aggressively, passing in no passing zones, forcing cars off the road and using no signals. Near the 22400 block of U.S. 441, Russ attempted to pass a semi truck on the shoulder of the road and lost control of the vehicle, spinning out in a water filled ditch.
When officers approached the vehicle, they found Russ along with two passengers. Kobie Adams, 20, was the front seat passenger. Adams reportedly had a Glock 48 under his seat. He did not have a concealed carry permit and was charged with unlicensed carrying of a concealed weapon. The back seat passenger, Johntaurus Johnson, 18, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Hendry County. A second Glock was found under the driver’s seat. It was loaded and in Russ’ immediate reach. Russ was charged with carrying a concealed firearm and fleeing law enforcement at a high speed. He was also issued multiple traffic citations.
Coreen Cole, a local nurse, was one of the drivers who was forced off the road during the high speed chase. She was on her way home after a late shift when it happened. “It was crazy!” she said. She saw red and blue lights of a patrol car coming up behind her and wondered what she did wrong. She was just past the boys’ school and decided to keep going a little bit until she got to a safe place to pull over. She looked back again and thought, “Dang, he’s coming fast!” Before she knew what was happening, a white car almost took out her front fender. That was when she realized the police car was actually coming behind the white car. They had been so close together, she didn’t realize there were two vehicles until she was on the side of the road watching them go by. Vehicles on the other side of the road were slamming on their brakes to get out of the way. “There were about four cops behind him and then four more,” she said. “It was crazy! By the time I realized what was happening, he was already past me, and I was off the road.” Cole was shaken up but thankful she was not injured.
Russ’ bond was set at $20,000. Johnson is being held without bond, and Adams’ bond was set at $5,000.