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A man drove onto the runway at a Florida airport tried to flee onto a Coast Guard plane, cops say

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A Tampa man faces numerous charges after he reportedly crashed through a fence at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and boarded a Coast Guard plane early Saturday morning, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Hamilton Herrera Moreno, 36, of North Myrtle Avenue, was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding, trespassing, grand theft auto, habitual traffic offender, burglary and two counts of criminal mischief, the sheriff’s office said.

Airport deputies at 4:48 a.m. were notified of a suspicious vehicle driving on the runway near parked commercial airliners, according to investigators. Deputies then attempted to stop the vehicle, which fled across the runway toward the U.S. Coast Guard station.

Deputies engaged the vehicle in a pursuit until the vehicle crashed through a Coast Guard security gate. Moreno stopped the vehicle in a large hangar and fled on foot, the sheriff’s office said. The suspect entered a parked C-130 aircraft and got into the cockpit before he was taken into custody by deputies, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hamilton was transported to Pinellas County Jail, and the investigation continues, with federal charges pending, the sheriff’s office said.

Butch Maier is a freelance writer and editor. He can be reached on Twitter via @ButchMaier.

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