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'Anybody could have been walking out of there': Bond set for man who crashed truck into Metro Corrections

Police said the incident is believed to be targeted, but isolated. The driver has been arrested.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One person is facing charges after a truck crashed into the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections jail building. 

Michael Perez, 41, pleaded not guilty to two counts of wanton endangerment and one count of criminal mischief after he crashed a truck into the building at 6th and Liberty. 

The citation says Perez refused to speak with officers and detectives but told the corrections officer he would speak with him because he was also Cuban. 

FOP spokesperson Officer Tracy Dotson says it's not uncommon for suspects or inmates to prefer speaking to a correctional officer. 

"That professional rapport is either built up over time or people who come in associate themselves with a certain officer," Dotson said. 

The phrase "Patria y Vida" was spray-painted on multiple parts of the truck. "Patria y Vida," which directly translates to "homeland and life," is a viral song from a group of Afro-Cuban reggaeton and hip-hop performers in Miami. NPR has said the song is an anthem for protesters challenging Cuban government.

Luis David Fuentes of El Kentubano says the current Cuban movement shouldn't be related to the crash incident. 

"We are not this kind of violent community that is using this kind of tactic for calling attention," he said. 

LMPD hasn't said what they believe Perez's motive was, only that the incident appeared to be isolated and intentional. 

According to the arrest citation, Perez made statements in Spanish to a Louisville Metro Corrections Officer regarding the intentional incident and his general disdain for law enforcement. 

During the arraignment, Perez began speaking in Spanish after receiving instructions from the judge, who advised him to hold all of his statements until after he secured his lawyer. 

At the time of the crash, the suspect was armed with a BB gun that resembled a real revolver and a large knife. 

According to the citation, a detective obtained video showing the truck driving southbound on S 6th Street before swerving to hit the building. Two Metro Corrections officers were in the lobby of the building at the time. 

Metro Corrections Assistant Director Steve Durham said the building was put on lockdown with all inmates secured in their room and all administrative staff escorted out after a truck crashed into the jail at 6th and Ali at around 12:30 p.m.

The event is believed to be targeted, but isolated. Louisville police shut down roads around the jail, and officials evacuated the Commonwealth's Attorney's office and Hall of Justice as LMPD's Bomb Squad arrived on scene.

One woman who came to was in the area at the time of the crash said she was asked by police to leave her car while they shut down the area. She was stuck until around 3:30 p.m.

"I was at the light and I just assumed, I didn't know what was going on, I just assume maybe somebody's vehicle had stopped, and I thought I was just going to be able to go to the light when the light turned green," she said. "Well that didn't happen."

Credit: LMDC
Michael Perez

LMPD spokesperson Beth Ruoff said there was nothing suspicious found inside the truck. All roadways around Metro Corrections have been reopened and Durham said the building will return to normal operations Wednesday.

There was no structural damage, and Durham said there have been discussions on installing protection in front of the building to prevent vehicles from crashing into the entrance. 

As operations at the jail returned to normal Wednesday, Dotson hopes safety measures like ram proof barriers could be on the horizon.

"With that intersection being right there I think that's a great idea," he said.

Perez's bond was set at $100,000.

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