Car chase ends feet away from diners at downtown Fort Myers restaurants

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Fort Myers police are conducting an investigation in downtown Fort Myers. (Credit: WINK News)

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigated a car chase that ended in downtown Fort Myers Thursday.

According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy was making a traffic stop in North Fort Myers on Pondella Road near US-41.

The driver, Victor Rivera Ortiz, 36, refused to cooperate with the deputy, punching him, knocking the deputy to the ground. The suspect then fled and tried to run over the deputy with his car in the process.

Deputies caught up with Ortiz and attempted a PIT maneuver but the suspect continued across the Edison bridge into downtown Fort Myers.

The chase ended on First Street in front of busy restaurants and only feet away from where many people were eating lunch outdoors.

Dave Kelley of North Fort Myers said a car was parallel parking and it ultimately blocked the suspects, adding, “the traffic that’s what allowed the cops to stop him.”

Kelly added, “The car had the back bumper off it, saw the front of the officer’s car was damaged.”

Connie Draper of North Fort Myers saw it all unfold, “I just heard the sirens coming down and I looked out the window and saw the white car stop and a bunch of police officers start running toward the car.”

Victor Rivera Ortiz is on Federal Probation out of Puerto Rico for Trafficking in Cocaine.

He is being charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, Fleeing and Eluding, and Aggravated Assault with a Vehicle. Additional charges may be forthcoming.

First Street was closed between Hendry and Broadway streets but has since reopened.

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