Melbourne Suspect Wanted On Federal Warrants Flees Police, Rams Vehicles, Jumps Into River In Attempted Escape

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Edward A. Sotelo
According to authorities, Edward A. Sotelo, 51, of Melbourne, swam for 15 to 20 minutes until he surrendered and climbed into a U.S. Coast Guard boat.

VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL – A suspect sought by the U.S. Marshals Service on a federal arrest warrant was taken into custody in the Intracoastal Waterway on Wednesday afternoon after he fled from law enforcement through the New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater areas, rammed two law enforcement vehicles and eventually jumped into the river to make an attempt at swimming away.

According to authorities, Edward A. Sotelo, 51, of Melbourne, swam for 15 to 20 minutes until he surrendered and climbed into a U.S. Coast Guard boat. Responding units also got a helping hand from a boater in the area who took them out to Sotelo as he floated around, hesitant to come out of the water and head to jail.

The incident started shortly before 2 p.m. when a Daytona Beach Police Department officer assigned to the U.S. Marshals Task Force said he was driving behind Sotelo, who had an active federal warrant for violation of probation on a prior armed robbery charge. Sotelo also had open warrants out of Orange County for fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, grand theft and retail theft, and was identified as a suspect in a series of retail thefts across Florida.

When Sotelo noticed he was being followed by law enforcement, he began to flee, ramming the Daytona detective’s vehicle and a deputy’s vehicle in the process, speeding away and ending up in a mobile home park at 2351 S. Ridgewood Ave. in Edgewater. That’s where he bailed out and jumped in the river. A female passenger stayed with the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident, as she had two active warrants out of Brevard County involving possession of a controlled substance and DUI.

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Sotelo was arrested on his warrants and also charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude with property damage, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, driving with a suspended license, and resisting an officer without violence.

A search of the female passenger, Melissa Anderson, 32, revealed 0.5 grams of heroin in her bra and a syringe in her purse; she was additionally charged with possession of heroin, possession of paraphernalia and resisting an officer without violence.

Sotelo and Anderson remained in custody at the Volusia County Branch Jail on Thursday afternoon, Sotelo with no bond and Anderson with a bond of $19,000.

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