Drivers of the non-golf variety tore through turf at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla., around 1 p.m. on Dec. 7. The fleeing SUV was rammed to a stop on the 16th fairway of the club’s Harbor Course. Photos courtesy of Josh Breda
When the call came over the radio that a Toyota 4Runner was driving across one of the golf courses at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla., with police vehicles in hot pursuit, Josh Breda’s first thought was that the call was a prank.
His second thought was to jump in his cart and do what he could to put an end to it.
“It was really amazing to hear that on the radio: ‘Hey, there’s a 4Runner on here being chased by police,’” says Breda, a GCSAA Class A superintendent and 16-year association member. “A week or so before, there was a call from security that somebody was stabbed out here. I think it ended up being a prank call, so I had that in my mind a little bit. I was in disbelief.”
Regardless, Breda hopped in his cart and headed toward the ruckus — and arrived just in time to see an Indian River County Sheriff’s Office deputy perform a pursuit intervention technique, or “PIT maneuver,” to bring the pursuit to an abrupt halt, right in the middle of the Harbor Course’s 16th fairway.
Watch: A Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club employee filmed as an SUV sped across part of the golf course:
“I was right there when he took her out,” says Breda, who has been in his second stint at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club since April. “I was playing chicken with her. There’s some video of it, and you can hear me say, ‘OK, it’s time to play chicken.’ I don’t know what I would have done if we had actually gone head-to-head. I don’t know how out of her mind she was. I did imagine a little tumble-roll out of the cart; get a new work cart out of it.”
Though the dramatic and relatively prolonged chase on Dec. 7 did cause an estimated $20,000 to the golf course, it could have been worse. Much worse.
Watch dash cam footage from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office:
“I will say, she was definitely talented with that 4Runner, being able to get away from those guys for a long time,” Breda says. “Thank goodness they got to her when they did. She probably would have run over some people for sure.”
WTVX reported that the driver, 60-year-old Jodi Ann Harvey, was involved in a near collision prior to crashing the course, which was what initiated the law enforcement pursuit.
Harvey allegedly plowed through Grand Harbor’s unmanned gate with police in tow and headed toward the driving range. She ran over the flagstick on the 17th green and ran over the 16th green before looping back and heading toward the shop.
“There were at least four or five cop cars,” Breda says. “They didn’t follow her on the greens, and she was only on those two greens, 16 and 17. That’s the extent of the holes she damaged. The worst of it is where she spun, where she peeled up some turf. On the greens, there are some tire marks. It’s bruised, so that will take several weeks, but she didn’t slam on the brakes or cut the wheel hard.”
The battered 17th green on the Harbor Course.
There was some damage to the Tifway 419 bermudagrass fairway.
“We’ll sod some of it, tamp it down and put some sand in there,” Breda says. “I put together a cost analysis and figure we’ll be in over $20,000 on labor and material and fertilizer. It’s hard to put a number on something like that. We have brand-new greens, and we’re going into season. To have her damage it like that, it’s discouraging.”
It’s especially so given that the Pete Dye-designed Harbor Course just recently reopened after a $2 million renovation that included new TifEagle greens. The course shut down May 28 and reopened Oct. 29 after the “restoration” by Dye disciple Chris Lutzke.
The facelift had been the talk of the club’s members until the dramatic police chase went viral. Even CNN’s Jeanne Moos did a feature on it.
“Oh, goodness, yes, they (the members) are talking about it,” Breda says. “It was on the West Palm (Fla.) news. I’m hearing it was on the national news. We’re just lucky we were still here and able to get it cleaned up when we did. We were about to leave for the day.”
The local TV station reported that Harvey told deputies she was under the influence of “blow.”
Andrew Hartsock is GCM’s managing editor.