Boy, Florida Man sure has been busy this week. A driver in Clearwater, Florida was arrested Thursday after leading police on a wild car chase along the beach, sending families fleeing as he smashed through umbrellas and beach chairs all while drinking from a bottle of whiskey and broadcasting the whole thing on Facebook Live.
In the five-minute video, 27-year-old Ryan Stiles starts out by shouting "Yeah, we're f***ing goddamn live, bro!" as he weaves around the sand, the sounds of police sirens audible in the background. At around 1:13, he turns the camera forward as he honks the horn and runs over a group of chairs and a child's wagon, yelling "Crash parade, bro!"
As the live-stream continues, he repeatedly says things like "We're going down" and "We're gonna die tonight, boys" and comments on how many police cars are chasing him. Several glimpses of the speedometer reveal he's moving as fast as 45 mph in some spots. Traveling north on Clearwater Beach, he eventually reaches the less-populous Caladesi Island State Park, where police manage to get a spike strip down and take out two of his tires at around 4:00.
(If the original video is taken down, it can be seen at this link via ABC Action News)
That's the beginning of the end for our fearless hero. The poor ZJ-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee has already taken a beating at this point, and just after 4:30, you can hear the transmission slipping badly and the engine sputtering before the whole thing abruptly dies. Coasting to a stop, Stiles makes good use of his last moments as a free man, chugging a bottle of Canadian Mist whiskey and taking a swig from a can of Budweiser as the police close in. No officers or civilians were injured.
As you might imagine, authorities threw the book at him. Stiles was charged with reckless driving, fleeing & eluding, hit and run with property damage, DUI, felony criminal mischief, driving with a suspended license, and threatening a public servant—and police warned more could be filed today, especially after Stiles smashed a window in his holding cell by swinging his belt around like a flail.
The Orlando Sentinel
spoke with a friend and roommate of Stiles, who was reportedly the first person to call police after witnessing an earlier Facebook Live broadcast in which he made several threats to police. She claims Stiles was upset after getting word that he was unlikely to receive probation for a separate resisting arrest charge and stormed out of their house before the chase began. Other people also witnessed the live-stream and also called 911, Clearwater Police said.
"It could have been a lot worse today," Deputy Chief Donald Hall told reporters.