A police chase on Interstate-95 that spanned four counties, including Broward and Palm Beach, reportedly began with an altercation between a man and a woman and shots being fired at a sergeant, and ended with the suspect driver singing as he was arrested, authorities said Saturday.
The 85-mile police pursuit began between the Ives Dairy Road and Miami Gardens Drive exits of I-95 in Miami-Dade County, and ended just south of Kanner Highway in Martin County.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, who was called to the scene at 12:33 a.m. Saturday, said Samal Hammond, 36, was stopped using spike sticks that deflated his van's tires.
Although Snyder said his office is not involved in the investigation, but that his deputies received information that Hammond had allegedly fired at a Miami-Dade police sergeant after she responded to a report of a man and woman arguing outside their car on the side of I-95.
The sergeant placed the woman in her cruiser and Hammond got into his van, Snyder said.
"And at that point she advised their dispatcher that shots were fired and the chase was on," he said.
The sergeant was not injured, Snyder said.
It is unclear how many shots were fired or whether the unidentified police sergeant returned fire. Miami-Dade police declined to provide information about the incident Saturday.
As a pair of Miami-Dade police cruisers stayed on Hammond's tail during the four-county pursuit, deputies from Broward and Palm Beach County's sheriff's departments joined in the chase, Snyder said.
Once Hammond's van was disabled in Martin County, it hit the guardrail and he refused orders to get out of the vehicle.
During the hour-long standoff with police, Hammond exhibited "odd" behavior, Snyder said.
"He was sitting, arm outside the van. He was just taking it all in," the sheriff said. "He actually drew a smiley face in the dew in the side mirror. And he was singing. It just felt like he was resigned to getting killed and just waiting to commit suicide by cop, and we really didn't want it to end that way."
Hammond finally declared, "I'll get out," and exited through the passenger door before lifting his shirt to reveal he had no gun. No weapon was found in the vehicle. Snyder said the man would have had ample opportunity to toss the gun out the window as he fled from police.
Hammond was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and providing false information for giving authorities a bogus name. As of late Saturday, he remained in Martin County Jail.
Additional charges were likely once he's returned to Miami-Dade County.
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