OKEECHOBEE — While working as a surveyor on State Road 714 in Martin County on the morning of Dec. 3, a man was surprised to look up and see his own trailer being towed behind a white Ford dually. While working, he normally chains his trailer to a tree nearby and he recognized it easily.
He quickly retrieved his vehicle and raced after the fleeing truck and trailer.
Because the vehicle was headed toward Okeechobee, the surveyor notified Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office dispatch of the stolen trailer and asked for assistance. The vehicles turned right on State Road 710 Southeast, and the owner of the trailer reportedly observed a Hispanic male wave his hand out of the driver’s side window. After a chase of several miles which included a spin through the Country Corner Drive Thru Store, the dually finally pulled into the Big Water RV Park on U.S. 441 Southeast. Moments later, the dually exited from the rear of the park without the trailer and came toward the other vehicle as if to hit him, but changed course before striking him. The driver reportedly yelled out of the open window that he was an undercover police officer and he better move out of the way.
Although he was shaken by the encounter, the owner of the trailer continued to follow the dually until Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Huffman arrived. The driver of the dually was identified as Juan Jose Rodriguez, 38, of Port St. Lucie. The report notes a search of his vehicle located multiple documents pertaining to his recent release from incarceration in the Saint Lucie County Jail.
He was charged with resisting arrest without violence, fleeing with lights and siren active, grand theft less than $5,000, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and impersonation of a law enforcement officer. Bond was set at $28,500.