SARASOTA COUNTY — A 40-year-old Bradenton man is accused of crashing his pickup at high speed early Thursday into the main terminal building at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
Juan Monsivis smashed a 2015 GMC Sierra truck through the baggage carousel area and then into the front of the National Car Rental counter, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Monsivis sustained serious injuries in the crash and is being treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. It is not known if he was wearing a seat belt.
Two employees were behind the car rental counter but were not injured, said FHP Trooper Kenn Watson.
“It’s amazing no one was hurt,” Watson said.
The airport’s final flight of the night had landed about 20 minutes earlier, so the terminal was mostly cleared out, said airport president/CEO Rick Piccolo.
One of the airport’s three luggage conveyor belts was damaged and will need to be replaced, Piccolo said. He estimates the total damage at $250,000 or more.
The FHP said Monsivis was observed by the New College police department traveling north on U.S. 41 in a “reckless manner.” Those officers attempted a traffic stop but were unable to catch up to him, Watson said.
The driver then turned east near Edwards Drive, crashing through a chain-link fence on the airport’s western boundary and racing down a utility road before slamming full-speed into the wall of the terminal.
“He smashed through a (cinder-block) wall and a conveyor system,” said Piccolo said. “There was a lady at the counter next to it from the car rental. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt.”
Officials speculate the driver may have been impaired or suffered a medical incident.
The FHP is leading the investigation.
Flights on Thursday are not expected to be delayed by the incident.
Security footage shows the truck entered the airport at 2:51 a.m. Dispatch was called to the airport approximately four minutes later.
The baggage area has multiple car rental counters, and there were airport staff in the area, Piccolo said.
The New College police were the first on the scene. Emergency responders treated Monsivis at the scene before transporting him to Sarasota Memorial. Multiple agencies began investigating the incident, including the Airport Authority, FHP and others.
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A perimeter was set up inside and outside the airport during the investigation.
The crash scene was cleaned up in a few hours.
Piccolo said the damaged baggage carousel could be out of commission for a while since the damaged parts take time to replace.
Monsivis has an extensive criminal history — mostly traffic offenses — according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
He has been charged with multiple DUIs and multiple counts of driving with his license either suspended or canceled. Other arrests include charges of unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm, battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, hit-and-run with property damage and possession of synthetic marijuana.