Five juveniles are in custody after an armed carjacking and a police chase that stretched from Osceola County all the way to Tampa, then back to Polk County.

  • 5 in custody after police chase from Tampa to Polk
  • Suspects believed to be involved in carjacking out of Osceola
  • Police chase started in Tampa around 1 p.m., ended in Polk
Two of the five suspects were already arrested in Winter Haven Friday morning, according to Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird, after allegedly carjacking a vehicle in Osceola County. But three other suspects got away, presumably going to Tampa.
The Tampa Police Dept. received a call from Florida Highway Patrol around 1 p.m. to conduct a traffic stop on that vehicle.

The car fled and led officers on a chase, heading southbound on I-275.

Officials said the suspect vehicle exited the interstate at the Howard/Armenia exit and continued on several Tampa streets before re-entering I-275 and heading north.

The vehicle then headed east on I-4 into Polk County. 

Sheriff Grady Judd said two of the suspects were arrested on Drane Field Road, though he did not provide details as to how. The third suspect, a 14-year-old, managed to get away after allegedly stealing a Lakeland city truck.

Judd said the 14-year-old led troopers, deputies and Lakeland Police on a chase across the Polk Parkway. 

The chase ended on Avenue T and 7th Street NE in Winter Haven, when a deputy performed a PIT maneuver, forcing the 14-year-old to lose control. Judd said the teen then ran into a home a block away, at the corner of 8th Street NE and Avenue T. 

Homeowner Rosa Parnell was inside at the time with her sister. She said the teen ran right past her in the house, trying to get out the back, when he realized there wasn't a back door. While she and her sister ran out of the house, she said the suspect hid in her attic and eventually surrendered peacefully.

The investigation is ongoing.