A former jockey set his ex-wife's house in southwest Marion County on fire after an apparent domestic dispute Tuesday night, then led deputies on a multi-county chase using different vehicles — one of them was a Dodge Charger painted to look like the “General Lee” from the TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” according to news reports.
Oswald Pereira, 44, was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville after suffering burns on 15% of his body. He faces charges such as fleeing and eluding, violation of a domestic violence protection order and assault on an officer, according to news reports. He also could face arson charges, pending a State Attorney's Office investigation.
Video shot by neighbor Shirley Gravelle some time after 7 p.m. shows thick smoke and tall flames pouring from the roof of the house at SW 103rd Loop after Pereira set it on fire by dousing gasoline around the house, according to WESH-TV.
"I feel bad for the children because on top of everything else they were going through, they have to worry about their family members," Grevelle told WESH-TV.
"He's always been really nice to us. Every time we're walking, he'll stop and say hi. And he loved his job, and I know he loved his family, so I honestly don't know. He must have been really distraught if it is him.”
Pereira fled the scene, then led deputies on a chase in a Dodge Charger painted to resemble the General Lee, according to reports.
He ditched the Charger and took off again in a white GMC Yukon, leading authorities through Marion and Levy counties. They used a "PIT maneuver," or pursuit intervention technique, to knock the SUV off the road. Pereira was arrested after running into a mobile home, according to reports.
No other injuries were reported, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, and two dogs were rescued from the fire.
Contact Carl Lisciandrello at email@example.com. Follow @carlmarks_Times