Deputies: Man arrested after pursuit ends in failed canoe getaway

Man crashed stolen car, took off in canoe, deputies say

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – After forcing deputies into a dangerous pursuit reaching speeds over 100 mph, a man was taken into custody when he attempted to evade his pursuers by way of canoe, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

According to deputies, it started when Mark Mastromarino took a 1989 Ford Mustang out for a test drive and didn't come back. The owner of the car reported it stolen, and investigators said Mastromarino took the car down County Road 208, hitting speeds of 103 mph.

Investigators said Mastromarino hit two police cruisers during a pursuit that led to Melissa Moon's residence, where he rammed the car through two gates and crashed into a third.

"Police had said that whenever he would see them that he would just take off," Mastromarino said.

Moon said she had put her three children down a nap when she heard the wreck.

"It took me a while to kinda of figure out what was going on, but the look in his eye and how fast he was coming -- I just thought this must all be related," Mastromarino said.

After crashing the car, Mastromarino ran into the neighbor's yard where he grabbed a canoe and got in the lake, deputies said. According to Moon, the suspect spent about 30 minutes in a stand off with deputies before he eventually paddled to shore, where he was taken into custody.

Photo provided by the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office

Investigators said the car the suspect was driving was totaled in the wreck. Mastromarino was charged with grand theft auto, aggravated assault and possession of marijuana.

According to the arrest report, Mastromarino threw 27 grams of pot onto the shore. He then yelled, "I know what it weighs. It better weigh the same amount when I get back."

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Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.