A 31-year-old motorist speeding on U.S. 1 Wednesday night fled from Deputies in an on again/off again pursuit that spanned from Big Pine Key to the entrance of Key West whereupon the suspect crashed into a hotel pool area.
The driver was identified as Asiel Diaz Valladares. His place of residency is still under investigation.
Diaz Valladares was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center at approximately 11:50 p.m. where he was airlifted to Jackson South Medical Center in Miami. His condition Thursday morning was not immediately clear.
Diaz Valladares will likely face a litany of criminal charges upon recovery. There were no other injuries reported.
The proprietor of the Hilton Garden Inn Key West stated the damage would cost at least $30,000 to repair as the suspect’s van smashed through the fence, crashed over trees and other vegetation and ran over the Jacuzzi before smashing into a pavilion. There were no hotel guests in the area at the time.
The incident began at 11:23 p.m. when Deputy Jonathan Lane reported the vehicle was traveling 86 mph southbound in the 35 mph Key Deer Zone near Mile Marker 30. Due to the suspect’s high rate of speed, Deputy Lane did not attempt a traffic stop for safety reasons. Instead, he radioed to Deputies south of him to be-on-the-lookout. So began a series of attempted stops by multiple Deputies, each of whom broke off their pursuit for safety reasons as the suspect continuously drove approximately 80 mph throughout the incident.
Key West Police assisted as the suspect drove closer to Key West and again failed to stop. Tire spikes were deployed at Mile Marker 11, but were not successful. The van ran through the Triangle entrance to Key West and smashed onto hotel property.
Diaz Valladares was found hiding in hotel bushes. He was taken into custody.
There was a bed, clothes and toiletries inside the van.
The van appeared to be totaled.