By Ryan Yousefi
A man is facing a series of felony charges, including charges for leaving the scene of an accident, evading law enforcement, and serious drugs and firearm crimes following a high-speed chase that concluded with the individual attempting a carjacking.
On November 8, Margate Police Department officers attempting to pull over a dark-colored Mercedes sedan near the 2400 block of North State Road 7 for what seemed to be illegal window tint were met with a much more complicated situation as the routine traffic stop quickly escalated into a high-speed chase.
According to the arrest report, the driver of the Mercedes, later identified as Johnny Clerjuste, 20, of Margate, refused to pull over and sped away from officers at a high rate of speed.
As the chase intensified, another officer in the vicinity witnessed the unfolding events and began a pursuit of his own. He arrived on the scene as the chase abruptly ended when Clerjuste’s vehicle collided with another.
According to the report, officers approached Clerjuste’s vehicle to apprehend him, but he crawled out of the wrecked car and fled on foot into a nearby closed car dealership.
The backup officer chased Clerjuste on foot inside the dealership, where Clerjuste attempted to evade arrest by entering a vehicle on the lot without the owner’s permission. In the process of his attempted carjacking, officers apprehended him.
While Clerjuste was being chased, emergency personnel and Fire Rescue responded to the scene, but the occupants of the vehicle struck by Clerjuste did not require hospitalization.
A subsequent search of the Mercedes that Clerjuste abandoned uncovered a significant amount of illegal substances. Officers found approximately 9.04 grams of crack cocaine and around 40.26 grams of cannabis. In addition to the drugs, an AR-style pistol was discovered within arm’s reach from the driver’s seat, in plain view, and not securely encased.
Further investigations into Clerjuste’s background revealed that the state had canceled his driver’s license, and an active warrant was issued for his arrest in Broward County for driving with a suspended license.
Clerjuste was transported to the nearest hospital for medical clearance related to the crash and was subsequently taken into custody.
He was arrested and transported to the Broward County Main Jail, where he remains.
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiples outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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