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Homeless man takes destructive joyride in a backhoe on Florida Keys’ Seven Mile Bridge

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Posted at 11:22 AM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 11:22:31-05

A 59-year-old homeless man was arrested in Florida on Tuesday after stealing a backhoe and taking it on a 90-minute joyride on the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Carl Blahnik is believed to have taken the backhoe from Marathon City Park. He then took the backhoe to the north end of the bridge, dumped a load of boulders on the roadway and then took the backhoe for a ride, traveling back and forth on the bridge.

Blahnik damaged the roadway and the sides of the bridge with the backhoe while deputies followed behind him. At one point, he damaged a deputy’s vehicle.

Deputies left the bridge and cleared the bridge of other traffic for their safety.

Around 1:20 a.m., Blahnik drove off the north end of the bridge and deputies were able to throw spike strips at the backhoe and puncture its tires.

When the vehicle came to rest, Blahnik was arrested. He complained of pain in his shoulder and trouble breathing so he was taken to a local hospital before being taken to jail.

He was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, digging up or any way disturbing any street or highway, failing to register a motor vehicle, and grand theft of a vehicle.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reports Blahnik was carrying a Wisconsin ID card, but it is believed that he is homeless and had been staying in the Coco Plum Beach.