Police: Man leaves accident scene, ends up in woman's home

A woman recorded cellphone video of police taking Uriel Baez into custody.
A woman recorded cellphone video of police taking Uriel Baez into custody.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a quiet Sunday for one Jacksonville woman at her Southside home, but that all quickly changed.

She had just sat down on her couch to read the newspaper when her front storm door opened and a strange man stood staring back at her.

"When I sat up off the couch, he came into my view and I was like, 'What are you doing? Who are you?'" said the woman, who didn't want to be identified. "He said, 'Help me, please. I've been robbed. Help me.'

"My gut feeling was, in the beginning, that something did happen to him, that maybe he did get robbed. That was my gut feeling, but I wasn't going to stay in my house to find out."

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Uriel Baez
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Uriel Baez

The woman said she started telling him to get out of the house.

"I was trying to push him and hold the door and push the door at the same time," she said. "He was going backwards. He didn't give any resistance, really. He looked really a little more scared than I did. His foot was stuck right here, while I was trying to push the door shut. Finally, I felt the door give and shut, so I imagine he either tumbled backwards down the steps."

Right away, she locked her other doors. A few minutes later, she looked out her front window, saw a police car and told the officer what happened. By then, the man was gone.

But a woman just a block away happened to be looking out her kitchen window and saw the same man in her backyard. She called police, and within minutes, officers and a police dog were escorting 19-year-old Uriel Baez (pictured) away.

Police said Baez had been involved in an accident at the intersection of Dean and East roads and then tried to get away. They said he was in a green truck and drove into the path of a motorcyclist heading north on Dean Road.

The motorcyclist, who was forced to go around the truck, told police he suffered major road rash. Police said Baez took off down East Road, ditched his truck on Sans Souci Road after speeding past a fire truck, then got out of his truck and began running.

Police said that's when he ended up at the woman's house.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said both of the women did the right thing by calling the police. He said protocol would have been different if the man refused to leave the house.

"If you have kids in the house or children, grab them and you leave and call from somewhere else," Smith said. "You may have property there, money in the house. The most important thing at that point is your safety and the safety of your family. Get out of the house and call the police immediately."

Baez is charged with leaving the scene of an accident, trespassing and not having an issued driver's license, among other charges. He's being held at the Duval County jail.