Man accused of firing at vehicle on Alligator Alley on Sunday

Reporter: Jennifer Morejon Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Juan Hernandez, 19. Credit: Florida Highway Patrol

A 19-year-old man from North Lauderdale was arrested on Sunday afternoon after troopers say he fired at another vehicle on Alligator Alley.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Juan Hernandez was arrested after troopers were informed around 10:45 am that the driver of a silver Mercedes-Benz pointed and fired a pistol at a black Mazda traveling east on Alligator Alley in Collier County. Troopers traveled east looking for the Mercedes-Benz before meeting with the driver of the black Mazda at the intersection of Alligator Alley and SR-29.

The driver said that Hernandez had followed him very closely and eventually rolled the window down and pointed a pistol at him and his passenger. The Mazda driver tried to get away from Hernandez and heard a shot being fired. The passenger in the Mazda said she saw Hernandez point a black pistol with a yellow gun barrel at her.

“Unfortunately, not everyone is packing their patience. And road rage happens,” said Kenneth Watson a trooper with Florida Highway Patrol. “And unfortunately, it happens daily, you also have to understand that we have so many people in the state of Florida that are carrying firearms, constitutional right.”

Watson said road rage incidents can be challenging crimes to solve.

“You have vehicles that are moving at a very quick rate of speed,” said Watson. “You also have someone who has been involved in a traumatic situation.” But in this instance, the victim called authorities quickly and was able to provide a description of important details of what happened.

“By pointing a firearm at someone out of a moving vehicle, and to actually fire it, it goes beyond crazy,” said Watson. “Not only is it a felony, but you’re jeopardizing so many lives, if you were to actually hit the subject that you were aiming at.”

Troopers and officers with the Miccosukee Police Department later pulled over the silver Mercedes-Benz in front of Miccosukee Service Plaza, located at 47801 W. SSR-84. All the vehicle’s occupants—Hernandez and three others) were detained. An MPD officer searched the vehicle and found 51.4 grams of marijuana and a black pistol with a yellow gun barrel matching the Mazda passenger’s description inside a bookbag in the back seat.

The driver of the black Mazda was taken to Miccosukee Service Plaza, and a lineup was conducted of everyone in the silver Mercedes-Benz. The driver identified Hernandez as the shooter. Hernandez was placed under arrest at around 12:15 pm.

Hernandez was transported to the Immokalee Jail. Since no one in the Mercedes-Benz claimed possession of the marijuana, all four people face a charge of possession of marijuana with over 20 grams or more. Hernandez alone faces charges of firing into a vehicle, direct discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, and four counts of attempted felony murder.

If you find yourself in a similar situation FHP recommends slowing down, trying to lose the aggressor, distancing yourself from the driver, and calling 911.

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