The pair covered 3.3 miles in six minutes before crashing, according to the Sheriff’s Office, blowing through five stops signs — with an 11-year-old boy in the back seat.
Vernon Watkins, 32, was in a red Monte Carlo that was near Sunset Road and Sunshine Boulevard around 6 p.m. when a Collier deputy said he noticed the car’s extremely tinted windows. An arrest report gives this account:
When the deputy turned on the emergency lights to stop the car, the vehicle made a U-turn and sped down Green Boulevard. The evasive maneuvers continued throughout Golden Gate, with the fleeing driver reaching 75 mph, flying over a speed bump, bouncing off a curb and briefly leaving the road.
The chase ended when the Monte Carlo ran a stop sign and hit a vehicle towing a trailer, spinning out before coming to a stop near 50th Terrace Southwest and Coronado Parkway.
Watkins was driving at the time of the accident and said that after they hit the speed bump, the other man told him to “take the wheel,” so the pair switched positions while driving.
Also arrested was Gerald James, 29. James’ 11-year-old stepson was asleep in the back of the vehicle when the chase started, and told deputies he saw the two men change seats. James denied driving.
Each faces a felony charge of recklessly eluding deputies at a high speed.
James also had been accused of child neglect without great bodily harm, a felony, and driving with a suspended license, a misdemeanor, an arrest report shows.