John Paul Behling: Vero Beach man charged after high-speed chase into St. Lucie County

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — A vehicle pursuit that began in northern St. Lucie County ended early Friday in the area of Florida Power & Light Co.’s St. Lucie Nuclear Plant after a Vero Beach man hopped out of the stolen truck he was driving, according to an affidavit.

John Paul Behling, 31, of the 3000 block of 12th Street, was arrested on charges including vehicle theft, flee/elude police at high speed, resisting officer/obstructing without violence and driving while license suspended.

A St. Lucie County Sheriff’s official about 11:54 p.m. Thursday spotted the Ford truck, which was reported stolen, in the area of U.S. 1 and Indrio Road and followed it south before it traveled over the south bridge onto Hutchinson Island.

The driver, identified as Behling, at times reached speeds of 85 to 90 mph.

Behling eventually came to a dirt road in the vicinity of Big Mud Creek before fleeing west and swimming away. FPL security officials saw him in the water with an infrared camera.

Behling was captured after being in the water for about an hour.

“If you’re the guy that was behind me, you should be congratulated on your driving skills, no one has ever been able to stay with me before,” Behling is quoted as telling a deputy.