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Police: 3 arrested after carjacking sparks high-speed chases ending in crashes

JSO booking photos of Andrew Perez, Tyler Sowders, Alejandro Perez
JSO booking photos of Andrew Perez, Tyler Sowders, Alejandro Perez

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A carjacking in Mandarin early Wednesday morning led to two police chases, both of which reached speeds of well over 100 mph, and ended with two crashes and three arrests, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

The carjacking was reported about 4:30 a.m. at an apartment complex on Hartley Road off San Jose Boulevard after a woman was forced out of her Ford Focus at gunpoint then robbed of her purse and cellphone, police said.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said he believes the woman was targeted. 

"It seems to me they were looking for someone vulnerable, maybe a female who was alone," Smith said.

Moments later, officers spotted the carjacked Ford on Baymeadows Road, and the chase ensued. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, 20-year-old Andrew Perez, who was behind the wheel of the Ford, got onto Interstate 95 and headed north, reaching speeds of 131 mph and blowing the tires on stop sticks. 

Police said Andrew Perez then got off I-95 at Edgewood Avenue and crashed.

He and the passenger, 19-year-old Tyler Sowders, were arrested, police said.

Alejandro Perez, 21, fled the carjacking in the original blue Saturn Ion, police said, and also sped off north on I-95, hitting speeds of 120 mph before also blowing tires on stop sticks. 

That's when Alejandro Perez got off I-95 at the Main Street Bridge and crashed on Ocean Street, according to JSO. 

Police said Alejandro Perez was arrested, but a passenger in his car escaped. 

The victim told News4Jax on Wednesday that she was still frightened by the ordeal, and did not wish to speak on camera because the fourth person has not been caught. 

“It doesn’t really happen that often, but she feels there is a chance, so I can understand her apprehension," Smith said. "I just hope she is being fully cooperative with law enforcement because they really need to get this fourth person off the street.”

Investigators said it appears the same men robbed another woman at gunpoint moments before the carjacking, but then returned the woman's purse after going through it, telling her they were sorry and didn't realize she was a mother. 

Officers did locate a BB gun in the back seat one of the vehicles, according to the police report. But it's unclear whether that was weapon used in the incidents.