Key Largo - A report of a suspicious vehicle in a residential neighborhood led to the arrest of two men, one for warrants and one for possessing a weapon, and for fleeing from deputies.
Deputy Sever Hustad responded to the end of Bonefish Avenue at 7:20 a.m. and found the vehicle with three men sleeping inside. He recognized two of the men from past encounters as 24 year old Francis Mercede and 21 year old Mathew Berry, both of Tavernier. A third man, asleep in the back, was 20 year old Taylor Wardlow of Key West. Deputy Kyle Page responded to the scene as a backup officer.
Berry had brass knuckles on his lap. He is a convicted felon, making his possession of the weapon criminal. A check on Wardlow revealed two outstanding warrants for failure to appear; one has a bond set at $300,000.00 for failing to comply with the terms of drug court. Both men were placed under arrest. Mercede was not arrested.
The men were placed in handcuffs. As the deputies were processing the arrest, Berry managed to slip a hand out of his handcuffs, unknown to the officers. They allowed Mercede to say goodbye to his friends; as he was doing this, Berry suddenly bolted, running up Bonefish Avenue. Deputy Page ran after him. Berry attempted to escape by jumping into the water in Adam’s Cut and swimming away; detectives working in the area responded to that location in a boat, however. Berry was finally forced to come to shore and was taken back into custody.
Berry was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, escape and resisting arrest. He and Wardlow were both booked into jail.