A suspect led police on a dramatic car chase early Saturday across Grand Cayman, reaching speeds of up to 90mph, as he was pursued by patrol cars and the police helicopter.
The Toyota driver, who had refused to stop for police responding to reports of a disturbance in George Town, eventually ran out of road, hitting a dead end in the East End.
Police said he turned off his headlights at one stage during the chase, but the helicopter was able to monitor his movements and directed ground patrols to his location.
The 38-year-old man was eventually arrested in Mica Drive – more than 20 miles from where the chase began, in the parking lot of the Compass Centre on Shedden Road.
Angelique Howell, district commander for George Town, said officers had responded to reports of a disturbance at the location after midnight Saturday.
She said a male suspect had left the scene in a Toyota and refused to stop for police, heading at speed toward Bodden Town. The police helicopter was “immediately deployed,” she said, allowing the pursuing police vehicles to drop back to safer distances.
Air Operations Unit commander Steve Fitzgerald said the use of the helicopter allowed police to track the vehicle without putting officers in danger. Officers in the air directed ground patrols as the suspect tried to evade them, switching off his lights in East End.
Mr. Fitzgerald said, “This is another example of the strategic deployment of the police helicopter making incidents safer for our colleagues on the ground and also the public, whilst also ensuring offenders are ultimately arrested, regardless of the actions they may take to avoid detection.”
The incident that sparked the chase took place on Shedden Road, where police have been concerned about a rise in street robberies following late night “sessions” – informal street parties – in the area.
Ms. Howell said in response, patrols are increasing in the area. Uniformed officers were stationed outside the Nevlaw Building between midnight Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday, stopping and searching drug suspects and conducting breath tests on motorists. One person was arrested on suspicion of DUI; others were prosecuted for traffic offenses.
“These focuses will continue as we have been receiving a few reports of street robberies and thefts in that area,” said Ms. Howell.
She urged people attending “illegal sessions” to show more concern for their personal safety, suggesting some of the recent robberies were targeting people going to and from these sessions.