A boat chase through shallow waters north of the Seven Mile Bridge ended in the arrest of a Miami man Saturday.
Francisco A. Cazorla Machado, 43, was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on a felony count of fleeing from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer and a misdemeanor count of possessing lobster in a closed season.
FWC Officer Andy Cox reported that at 6:20 p.m. Saturday, he was headed through Rocky Channel when he used his patrol boat's lights and siren to signal a flats boat with three men aboard to stop.
Cazorla, at the small boat's helm, "turned the boat sharply to port and accelerated the vessel, cutting across a large flat," Cox wrote in his report.
The heavier FWC boat kept pace in deeper water before the flats boat "turned hard to starboard and headed for very shallow water." A passenger on Cazorla's boat emptied a yellow bucket over the side while the Cazorla operator "continued to make hard evasive turns in the very shallow water," the officer wrote.
Before the smaller boat stopped, Cox wrote, the chase lasted about a mile, with his patrol boat hitting speeds of 60 mph at full throttle. Cazorla "made at least 12 turns during the pursuit," Cox said.
When the officer identified "fresh lobster blood" in the bucket, one of the passengers admitted they had a lobster aboard. He claimed the lobster was speared by accident when his spear went through a fish and hit a lobster in the same hole.
Both passengers were ticketed for illegal possession of a lobster. Cazorla was released from custody Monday pending trial.