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Suspect dead after chase along Florida Turnpike into Martin County

Man leads police on chase from Florida City to Martin County. Identified as 28-year-old Michael Sardinas of Hollywood, Florida. (MCSO|FDLE|DOC)

A police chase from South Florida ended more than 130 miles away along the Florida Turnpike with the fleeing suspect shooting himself after being rammed by a sergeant from Martin County.

The chase even had Sheriff William Snyder wondering at a Saturday night news conference how it ended up in his county.

"We have to take care of the people we protect and we can't let people come through our county firing at law enforcement and just drive through. That's not happening," Snyder said. "They're not getting through this county if they've done something like that."

Snyder identified the suspect as 28-year-old Michael Sardinas.

The sheriff's office called Sardinas, of Hollywood, Florida, a high-risk sex offender.

According to records from the Department of Corrections, he faced a sex battery charge out of Broward County in 2010, and served three years in prison from 2012 to 2015.

Investigators said the ordeal began just before 5 p.m. in Florida City. Miami-Dade Police said Florida City police responded to a traffic crash with injuries at SW 336 Street and U.S. 1. Police said as an officer approached, the suspect drove off in a gray Chevy. As the officer tried to do a traffic stop on the car, the driver opened fire on police and fled northbound on the Florida Turnpike.

The chase went north along the Turnpike with crews from MDPD and the aviation unit in pursuit, according to Miami-Dade Police.

At one point, the Florida Highway Patrol blocked the northbound lanes at Okeechobee Boulevard. Those lanes have since reopened.

Sheriff William Snyder said the Martin County Sheriff's Office became aware of the chase around 6:15 p.m.

The chase came to an end in Martin County near mile marker 127, according to MDPD. Snyder said one of his sergeants performed a PIT maneuver to stop the car.

"This is an extremely dangerous chase," said Snyder. "I don't know how he got from Florida City up here. We would've never allowed it to get out of our county."

The car went into a 360 degree spin. Snyder said just before the car hit the guardrail a gunshot went off inside the car.

Deputies believe the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Snyder said he saw two semi automatic pistols in the car.

As a result of the investigation, authorities shut down the northbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike from Indiantown Road to Stuart, the sheriff's office said. Those lanes have since reopened.

Sardinas would've turned 29 on Sunday.

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