Pasco Deputies Capture Suspect in Swamp After Chase
The suspect was wanted in Hernando County where he had battered a deputy. He also drove at Pasco deputies, narrowly missing them, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
PASCO COUNTY – A man who fled from Hernando deputies was caught in a Pasco swamp, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Paul Daniel Smith, 34, of Brooksville, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and one count each of violation of probation or comunity control, fleeing or eluding police with disregard of safety to persons or property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, according to Pasco jail records. The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office is pursuing warrants for mulitple felony charges in their jurisdiction.
A woman who was with him, Tara Berger, 31, of Spring Hill, was charged with one count of lying to a law enforcement officer during a felony investigation.
The Hernando sheriff had sent out a notice Tuesday (April 17) asking law enforcement officers to be on the lookout for Smith, who had resisted arrest, battered a Hernando deputy, and fled handcuffed on one wrist in a blue Ford F150. About 6:10 p.m., Deputy Marc Lane spotted the truck driving at a high rate of speed southbound on U.S. 41 in Land O’ Lakes. Lane pursued the truck and other sheriff’s units that were in the area also joined the pursuit.
Deputies said the truck turned into the Lake Thomas area where it struck a pole and a mailbox. At one point, the vehicle slowed and a female, later identified as Berger, jumped out of the passenger side and was caught. Deputies said Smith also made a turn in the subdivision and came directly at deputies, narrowly missing them. Smith then fled on foot and Cpl. Andrew Denbo pursued; however, the Smith fled into a densely wooded, swampy area.
A perimeter was quickly established and K9 Air, his human partner Deputy Rob Wilkins, and Denbo tracked Smith through the swamp. They eventually found him almost entirely submerged in mud.
Smith was taken to Spring Hill Hospital for medical clearance, then taken to jail.
Photos are screen grabs from a video of the capture. Courtesy of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
To see a short video of the capture, go to facebook.com.
Pasco Sheriff | Hernando Sheriff | Crime | Arrests | Tampabay News
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