March 7, 2018

NORTH KEY LARGO — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office logged a call on 11:56 p.m. Feb. 22 of a woman reporting that a red Toyota was trying to stop her car as she was driving south on Card Sound Road by throwing nails in front of her vehicle.

The redacted one-page report says the Toyota was heading toward the Ocean Reef Club. It doesn’t say much else.

The Florida Highway Patrol has not received or responded to any rock, brick or object-throwing incident on either the Monroe County or the Miami-Dade side of Card Sound Road this year, says Public Affairs Officer Lt. Alex Camacho.

But Sonny Vasquez, Ocean Reef’s Public Safety director, is taking the matter seriously. In fact, he said there’s been a few other reports of unusual incidences along the road.

“There’s been five incidences and probably some that may not have been reported,” he said, adding that each has taken place about a mile or two south of U.S. 1 on Card Sound Road.

The first occurred in January when a club member said he was traveling along the road with a vehicle ahead in the distance. As he approached the vehicle, it turned sideways as if to block the road, and five men got out and stood around it.

“The driver was successful in going around them. He was smart, he didn’t stop,” Vasquez said. “Do not stop for any cause, even if you have four flat tires, they’re just tires. Just keep going. Keep on rocking, you can make it,” he said.

Vasquez recapped the other incidences:

Earlier in February, a club associate driving home around 1 a.m. saw a tire in the middle of the road. He stopped and got out to remove it when he says someone came screaming out of the woods. The following day, the same thing happened to three other associates, except they reported there were four to five men approaching and yelling.

A woman also reported to police that a man in a striped yellow shirt came out of the woods and threw a brick at her windshield but it landed on her roof instead. Police dispatched a helicopter and found a man matching the description, Vasquez said.

“Unfortunately, she couldn’t identify him by face in the lineup,” he said.

Vasquez said Ocean Reef Public Safety is patrolling Card Sound Road more frequently due to the reports.

The portion of Card Sound north of the tollbooth is patrolled by the Miami-Dade Police Department, and Ocean Reef is asking for more police to patrol the area, Vasquez said.

Valerie Gillespie, who works for the Ocean Reef Club Real Estate Company, commutes to Homestead daily and said she hasn’t seen anything suspicious.

“People blow things out of proportion sometimes,” she said. “Sometimes we are all in a rush and maybe a bit of tire could look like a full tire. Or, who knows? Basically, we all just need to slow down and relax.

“Trust me, I’ve seen the enemy, and it’s us. I think a patrol car should be there to dissuade people from speeding and driving recklessly.”

Miami-Dade Police Department South District Public Information Officer Lee Cowart said his office wasn’t aware of any such incidents along Card Sound Road this year. However, he recommends motorists call 911 immediately in an emergency situation and his agency will respond.

“See something, say something,” Cowart said.

Or, if it is a non-emergency circumstance, such as unusual activity, Cowart recommends motorists get somewhere safe and when not distracted call 305-4-POLICE (305-476-5423).

tjava@keysnews.com