Unmarked patrol car witnessed Florida bridge race, police say

An illegal street race over a Florida bridge came to an embarrassing end when the drivers failed to see the police station’s police car in their rearview mirror.

The 28-second race was also captured on video.

It happened Wednesday, Aug. 3, at the Clyde B. Wells Bridge in Santa Rosa Beach, about 65 miles east of Pensacola, according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

“These two chose badly. Several times,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.

“Racing on the bridge was the first error in a series of errors that resulted in both drivers with criminal citations. One of those bad choices was to do it for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office chief of operations. That’s a bad day.”

The video shows the two moving vehicles slowing down on the two-lane bridge to create distance between the cars in front of them, then taking off.

The chief’s unmarked SUV was behind them the entire time, officials said.

Both men were stopped (off-camera) and “charged with racing, which is a criminal citation in Florida,” the sheriff’s office told McClatchy News.

The bridge has been the scene of illegal racing in the past, including a 2019 incident where two teenagers on their way to a ball crashed their Camaros into an Alabama family’s pickup truck, according to The Destin Log. The drivers and family were injured but survived, it was reported.

Video of the August 3 race has received more than 2,000 reactions and comments on social media, with some complaining that the bridge has become a NASCAR track with no curves.

“I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces when they were apprehended,” one woman wrote on the sheriff’s office Facebook page.

This story was originally published August 4, 2022 8:54 AM.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and non-profits, among others. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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