Owner of van involved in police chase knew the suspect

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
van chase
van chase Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office

WINK News has learned new information about a police chase that ended with a suspect jumping from the Edison Bridge into the Caloosahatchee River. The man was injured and taken to the hospital after the jump.

The suspect, Bryan Gray, 34, was driving over 100 mph in a stolen van, and the owner of that van says Gray is her nephew.

The woman says her nephew got out of prison last October after being behind bars for 12 years. Now, she thinks the safest thing for him and for the community could be sending him back to prison.

The video above shocked Marcella Chacon. Just days before her nephew dove into the Caloosahatchee River, Chacon let him come over and take a shower.

“Because of previous incidences, he was not allowed to stay with me at all because he’s homeless and my husband called me, actually he texted me and told me the van was ‘missing,'” Chacon said.

She says Gray waited until her husband was asleep to take the keys to the van.

A video that was taken on the morning of Wednesday, October 27 shows Gray packing up his aunt’s van and taking as many belongings from the home as possible. “I was angry, I was at the same time still kind of worried about him but then it was like, then I saw all of my hard work to try to provide for my family, my husband is disabled he got a kidney transplant, he knows what we go through,” said Chacon.

Gray stealing van
Credit: Marcella Chacon

At least once per month, Chacon’s husband needs that van to go visit his doctors in Tampa. And, every once in a while, it provides a way for them both to escape from their reality. “I made sure I worked really hard to make sure I got a decent van that we could be low on funds and stuff and go on family road trips and stuff like that,” Chacon said.

After he stole her van, Chacon now knows what sort of tough love Gray needs. “I would say I want him to get help but I don’t think there’s help for him. I would say the best thing for everybody is for him to be locked back up,” she said.

Chacon told WINK News that even if her nephew was in critical condition, she’d want to be by his side. She says she wouldn’t want him to die alone. However, the wound Gray created by stealing her van is too deep to fully heal.

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