A Kissimmee man is under arrest today, charged with fleeing from deputies and driving his car into the water off of Big Coppitt Key.
28 year old Steven Louis was southbound at the 6 mile marker of Highway U.S. One at 11 a.m. when Traffic Enforcement Deputy John McGee spotted him speeding at 72 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. He attempted to stop the green four door vehicle near Key Haven Road, but Louis refused to stop.
Suddenly he did a U-turn at the intersection of Cross Street on Stock Island, almost running another vehicle off the road. As Louis was fleeing, Deputy McGee saw him talking on a cell phone and eating something. Louis accelerated northbound at a high rate of speed, running a red light at MacDonald Avenue. At speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour, Louis fled north. Deputy McGee radioed ahead for help from road patrol officers.
Louis continued to flee, then turned abruptly left onto Palmetto Drive on Big Coppitt Key. He drove to the end of the road, where he ran through a closed gate, then down a private boat ramp and into the water.
Deputy McGee, waiting for backup officers to arrive for safety reasons, watched as the car began to sink. Louis opened the car door and climbed onto the roof of the vehicle. As he sat on the roof, he began throwing up a large amount of a white pasty substance. When backup officers arrived, they threw Louis a rescue disc to help him to shore. He had a difficult time catching the disc and appeared to be impaired by some unknown substance.
An officer on scene had a personal boat located not far away. He was able to respond in his boat and rescued the suspect from the car’s roof. Louis was transported to shore where he was taken by paramedics to Lower Keys Hospital.
A wrecker was called to the scene to remove the vehicle from the water. Louis has been charged with fleeing and eluding police, driving with his license suspended and criminal mischief.