Couple arrested after chase on land, in water

A man and woman allegedly joyriding in stolen vehicle were arrested May 14.

The man allegedly led law enforcement officers on a foot chase for more than an hour.

Amy Melbar, 20, of Gibsonton, and Thomas Turner, 30, of Duette, face charges of grand theft auto, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and carrying a concealed firearm.

Bradenton Beach police officers allegedly discovered a nylon bag containing a .380 Taurus handgun, a plastic bag of crystal meth, clear plastic bags and a glass pipe inside a motorcycle the couple allegedly stole.

BBPD officers arrived in the 2000 block of Coquina Park about 5 p.m., where the owner of the motorcycle had followed the alleged thieves.

When the man and woman stopped at a picnic table to enjoy the view, the man called 911, according to the police report.

BBPD officers approached the picnic table where Melbar and Turner were sitting. When Turner saw them, he attempted to flee on the motorcycle, but couldn’t start the bike, according to the report.

After Turner refused to get off the vehicle, BBPD Officer Thomas Ferrara tackled him, sending Turner and the motorcycle tumbling to the ground, according to the report.

Turner got up, faced Ferrara and held the screwdriver in an aggressive manner, the report said. He then took off running across Gulf Drive finally ducking into the mangroves on the edge of Sarasota Bay.

Ferrara called for backup and soon officers from the Holmes Beach Police Department, Longboat Key Police Department and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies had the area surrounded.

At this point, Turner had jumped in the water and was trying to swim away, the report said.

He then returned to shore and surrendered to an MCSO officer with K-9 unit, saying he was “giving up and just didn’t want to be bit.”

When the deputy called off the dog, Turner jumped back in the water and began swimming away again.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the area in boats, but Turner evaded the officers for another 45 minutes by going underwater and attempting to swim underneath the vessels.

An MSCO helicopter was called in so Turner could be observed from the air.

The man finally became exhausted after treading water for so long, and began making is way to the South Coquina Boat Ramp, the report said.

Coast Guard officers pulled him onboard their vessel and handcuffed him.

Turner also faces charges of with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and driving without a license (third or subsequent offense).

Turner told authorities that the nylon bag was not his and he had purchased the motorcycle for $500.

He and Melbar were taken to Manatee County jail.

Melbar also faces charges of violation of probation and was being held without bond. Turner was being held on a $29,000 bond.

Their arraignment will be held May 30 at 9 a.m. at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton.

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