A 20-year-old Tampa resident led authorities on a lengthy cross-county pursuit, but in the end, law enforcement got its man — right here in Brandon.
The incident began late morning Saturday (Aug. 31) when authorities said Matthew Evan Cartagena, West Grace Street in Tampa, carjacked a black ’10 Range Rover from a couple and their grandson at the Hilton hotel downtown. After threatening to “blow their head off,” according to Tampa Police, Cartagena took the vehicle and fled onto I-4 and then I-75 South.
Tampa Police were assisted in the pursuit by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, North Port Police Department, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
“TPD pursued as far as Sarasota but returned to our city limits when we were no longer in sight of the vehicle and the risk to the citizens at large outweighed the reward of the defendant's capture,” Tampa Police said in a news release.
Cartagena eventually fled back north on I-75 and was apprehended in Brandon near Bloomingdale Avenue and Gornto Lake Road after bailing out of the vehicle and causing a small crash.
Cartagena was charged with armed carjacking, fleeing to elude and resisting arrest.
Booking information was not immediately available.