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Shirtless Florida man had toddler tucked between his legs on motorcycle, police say

Clearwater police said the man sped away from them and ran a red light after they tried to pull him over.
Booking photo of Gerardo Javier Garcia, 27, who is facing charges of child neglect, fleeing police and driving without a license. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

Clearwater police arrested a Tampa man Tuesday who they say was driving a motorcycle with a toddler tucked between his legs, then sped away from police when they tried to stop him.

Gerardo Javier Garcia, 27, is facing charges of child neglect, fleeing police and driving without a license in connection with the incident, which began about 3 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Court Street and Ewing Avenue.

Related: St. Pete wrong-way driver arrested at 2 a.m. with baby in car. It’s his third DUI, police say.

Police said people in the area were alarmed enough by what they saw that they took photos of a shirtless Garcia driving with the toddler and summoned police. An officer saw Garcia driving the motorcycle “with the child between the defendant’s legs and with its head resting on the gas tank,” an arrest report states.

An officer turned on his lights and sirens and tried to pull Garcia over, but he “fled at a high rate of speed and ran a red light,” reports state. The officer did not pursue the motorcycle because of the dangerous situation the child was in, reports state, however officers “observed the motorcycle operating reckless throughout the city.”

Related: Florida man pretended to be a cop. Then he was found passed out behind the wheel, police say.

Police eventually stopped Garcia and he told them he drove away from officers because he knew he didn’t have a driver’s license and didn’t want to go to jail, reports state. The age of the child and the child’s relationship to him were not detailed in arrest affidavits.

Garcia was being held at the Pinellas County jail Wednesday. A hold from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also has been placed on him, court records show.

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