INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A motorist charged last year with manslaughter led Indian River County sheriff's deputies on a chase Monday night, according to his affidavit.
John Wesley Harden, 30, of the 6300 block of Seventh Street, Vero Beach, was charged with aggravated fleeing and reckless driving. He remained at the Indian River County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail Tuesday.
During the chase, Harden ran red lights, ignored stop signs and traveled on the wrong side of the road before deputies used stop sticks to make him stop his minivan, the Sheriff's Office said.
Harden told deputies he fled because there's a warrant for his arrest in Georgia, sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Jeff Luther said. Luther didn't have specifics about that warrant.
A deputy noticed the minivan driving slowly up and down a dead end road in a rural part of the county about 11 p.m., Luther said. The deputy, who considered the car suspicious, followed it to a subdivision in the 9900 block of State Road 60 and activated his emergency lights, he said. The driver sped off, then fled about eight blocks on S.R. 60 before turning south on 90th Avenue and then to Eighth and Fourth streets, the Sheriff's Office said.
The deputy didn't chase Harden, but followed from a distance while calling for backup, a sheriff's official said. Harden allegedly failed to stop when a second deputy intervened.
When Harden began driving recklessly, deputies put out stop sticks — metal devices that puncture tires — as the minivan passed the 3300 block of S.R. 60. One tire deflated and another fell off.
The driver ran, but was caught by a K9 dog, deputies said.
The Sheriff's Office will investigate the deputies' actions to make sure they followed procedures, Luther said.
The Florida Highway Patrol said Harden was involved in a collision last March that killed 81-year-old Ed Motyka of Vero Beach. The crash happened as Harden was turning left onto 45th Street while Motyka traveled south on Indian River Boulevard. The State Attorney's Office in December filed a DUI manslaughter charge against Harden.
Staff writer Elliott Jones contributed to this report.