A routine traffic stop for a broken taillight resulted in the arrest of the driver on suspicion of carjacking, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Cody Kerns noticed a broken taillight on a black Pontiac that was northbound on U.S. 1 at 3:40 a.m. Saturday. When 34-year-old Dennis Cooper, of Key Largo, was pulled over at mile marker 102 Kerns recognized from previous encounters.
Cooper handed Kerns a learner's permit, and a check of his name showed that his license had been suspended, deputies said. His female passenger also only had a learner’s permit.
As a result Cooper, who had two previous arrests for driving with a suspended license, was arrested, deputies said.
Kerns found a large amount of fresh blood on the driver’s door and on the center console of the vechile, deputies said. Since neither Cooper nor the passenger were injured, Kerns asked the passenger where the car had come from.
That's when the passenger made a phone call and handed the phone over to Kern, deputies said. On the line was a named Craig, who said he knew Cooper had the vehicle, but that he didn’t know that his license was suspended.
Shortly after, a call came in about a carjacking. The caller said his nose was broken and that his car had been taken by Cooper, deputies said.
The owner of the vehicle, Craig, had blood all over him when deputies arrived and had an apparent broken nose, deputies said.
Craig told deputies that he was surrounded by a bunch of Cooper’s friends when he was on the phone with Kerns earlier, and that he was scared of speaking freely out of a fear of being hurt, deputies said.
Craig told deputies that he and Cooper had been at Hibiscus Park and that he had let Cooper borrow his car. He said refused to return his keys and that he got punched in the nose while attempting to get them back from Cooper, deputies said.
Cooper was arrested on charges of driving with his license suspended, carjacking and aggravated battery.