PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Defenders from the 45th Security Forces Squadron apprehended three occupants of a stolen vehicle from St. Augustine, Florida, after a high-speed chase near Patrick Space Force Base Dec. 16, 2021.
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sarah Hardy, 45th SFS installation patrolman, was conducting checks of the Pineda Beach parking lot, which is part of Patrick SFB property, when she noticed a suspicious vehicle at the east side of the parking lot.
She pulled behind the vehicle, a Chevrolet Silverado, and requested U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Dusek, 45th SFS base defense operations controller, conduct a National Crime Information Center/Florida Crime Information Center (NCIC/FCIC) check on the vehicle.
While the plates were being run, the Silverado left the parking lot with Hardy close behind.
A few moments later, Dusek discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen, along with a handgun, which was reportedly inside the vehicle with two magazines, and relayed that information to Hardy.
“When I heard that the vehicle was stolen, I turned on my overhead lights,” said Hardy. “The vehicle immediately sped off in an erratic manner turning onto Pineda Causeway.”
“It was a stressful situation,” said Dusek. “I immediately let her know that they were likely armed with a weapon.”
Dusek also requested the Brevard County Sheriff's Office respond to assist Hardy, who was pursuing the truck as it traveled west on Pineda Causeway.
“Our speeds reached well over 100 mph,” Hardy said. “The vehicle was driving erratically and weaving in and out of traffic, but I was focused, and my training took over.”
At approximately 7:30 p.m., the Silverado collided with a Toyota Tundra halfway between Merritt Island and Satellite Beach, then collided with a concrete guardrail before stopping.
Fearful that she could face a lethal threat, Hardy exited her patrol car with her weapon drawn, a Sig Saur 9mm handgun, and took cover.
Shortly thereafter she was joined by BCSO deputies.
Dylan Weber was the first BCSO deputy to arrive on scene.
“Me and Weber had all occupants of the vehicle exit one by one,” said Hardy. “Then we instructed them to (assume) a kneeling position at the rear of the vehicle until backup arrived.”
Minutes later, two more deputies arrived from the BCSO. They instructed each suspect to walk backwards toward them and Hardy handcuffed each one.
Hardy then demanded any other occupants who may be in the Silverado to get out. Then, she and the BCSO deputies performed a tactical sweep of the vehicle.
“Deputy Weber and I noticed the smell of marijuana emitting from the (truck), as well as a handgun on the passenger side floorboard with two loaded magazines,” said Hardy.
After searching the Silverado, Hardy checked on the driver of the Tundra, she said. He was shaken from the incident, but refused medical attention.
“Hardy did an outstanding job,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Casey Klask, 45th SFS flight sergeant. “I couldn't have handled it any better.”