Coral Springs woman orders lunch from McDonald's drive-thru instead of pulling over for police
Sofia Santana and Danielle A. Alvarez, Sun Sentinel
9:16 p.m. EDT, April 12, 2011
Flashing police lights apparently couldn't stop a Coral Springs woman with a fast-food craving.
Police say when an officer tried to pull over Roberta Spen, 64, Monday for having faulty brake lights, she instead pulled into a McDonald's drive-thru lane and ordered lunch.
The bizarre exchange happened along University Drive just south of Atlantic Boulevard at about 2 p.m., and it spawned an all-out police pursuit.
Officer Courtney Vassell pulled up behind Spen in the drive-thru lane, and got out of the patrol car. With police lights flashing behind him, he told her to pull out into the parking lot for a traffic stop, according to a police report.
Roberta Spen (Broward Sheriff's Office / April 12, 2011)
Spen, though, completed her food order, paid the bill, and then drove her bronze 2001 Chevrolet out of the parking lot and onto Northwest Sixth Court, Vassell said.
Vassell again flipped on his siren and stopped Spen outside the McDonald's, where he said she "rolled her window down one inch and said she was not speeding and she would not roll her window down."
Spen also refused to hand over her driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, then drove away from Vassell, police said.
Vassell got back in his patrol car, flipped on his emergency lights — again — and followed Spen as she turned north onto Northwest 98th Avenue, east onto Atlantic and then north on University Drive.
Several other police officers joined in the pursuit.
Although the police lights did not stop Spen, a red light at University and Ramblewood Drive did, and several officers attempted to box in Spen's car. Somehow, though, Spen was able to drive in reverse out of the box and continued driving north on University, police said.
Spen finally stopped at the Mobil gas station at 1351 University Drive., where officers again surrounded her car.
This time, when she refused to leave the car, the officers went in and got her — smashing the driver's side window and pulling her out, police said.
After a quick check-up at Coral Springs Medical Center, Spen was taken to a Broward jail, arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest without violence and driving with defective equipment.
Police said on the arrest report that they found no indication Spen was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the chase, and they could find no explanation for why Spen, who before her arrest Monday had no criminal record in Florida, didn't just pull over.
In bond court Tuesday Judge John "Jay" Hurley ordered her release under the condition she submit to a mental health evaluation.
Spen could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.