Woman in stolen car arrested after soldiers used PIT maneuver along Howard Frankland Bridge


Between Tampa and St. Pete, the driver of a stolen vehicle was fleeing the soldiers in the height of Wednesday afternoon’s rush hour – until the soldiers turned her car around the middle of the Howard Frankland Bridge.

Just after 5 p.m., the soldiers received a BOLO for the silver Nissan Altima that was reported stolen from a Gainesville rental company, Sunrise Auto Rentals and Sales. The vehicle was fitted with a GPS device, which enabled the rental company to provide its location to the Florida Highway Patrol, soldiers said.

The soldiers began their search at Interstate 275 and Fowler Avenue and began to receive GPS pings as they headed south to the Dale Mabry Freeway exit. It was there that they spotted the stolen vehicle.

They said once the driver – later identified as Wykeria Stevenson, 26 – noticed the emergency flashing lights on their patrol vehicles, she “checked the brakes” of a soldier and ” took evasive action and fled south, ”according to the traffic report. .

Soldiers said she was traveling over 100 mph and maneuvered recklessly in and out of the tracks.

The chase reached the Howard Frankland Bridge and Stevenson was forced to slow traffic to 50 or 60 mph. In the dashcam video posted by FHP, Stevenson apparently attempts to enter the right shoulder, entering one of the construction barriers. This is where a soldier used a PIT maneuver as the barrier rebounded into one of the central taxiways.

Other soldiers surrounded the car, pulled out their handguns and yelled at Stevenson to get out and “get down.”

We hear him shout in the images of the dashcam: “Yessir”, before asking: “What’s going on? ”

Stevenson was taken into custody. When she was placed in the back of the patrol car, she could be heard saying, “I’m tired,” then wondering aloud, “How did they even catch me? “

During the arrest, she told one of the soldiers she was pregnant, epileptic and “was having an episode,” officials wrote in the traffic report. She was taken to Bayfront Hospital and cleared by medical staff. She was taken to Hillsborough County Jail at 9:54 p.m. that day.

The incident report did not confirm whether she was pregnant or had a medical episode.

Soldiers said Stevenson, who lives in Dunnellon, had a suspended driver’s license since November 1, 2018. There are several active arrest warrants for his arrest in Georgia.

They did not say how she got the stolen vehicle, or where she was heading.

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