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Police reports

By Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 27, 2002

Task force on U.S. 19 tickets 191 people

As promised, a task force of west Pasco County law enforcement targeted speeders in their crackdown on U.S. 19 on Friday, ticketing 191 people for speeding in more than 10 hours.

The crackdown included officers from Port Richey, New Port Richey, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. On Friday, officers said they would be targeting speeders.

The task force also wrote 51 moving violations and 29 seat belt violations, arrested four on drunken driving charges, held three people on warrants and found drugs in four cases.

The group also wrote 89 warnings from noon until 10:30 p.m. on Friday.

Teen charged with animal cruelty when dog kills cat

NEW PORT RICHEY -- A 19-year old New Port Richey man is facing a charge of animal cruelty after two witnesses said he threw a cat by its tail into a pen where his dog was waiting to kill it, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office arrest report said.

Thomas Agent, of 6620 Sutherland Lane, was arrested early Friday morning when two witnesses called deputies. According to Agent's arrest report, the witnesses said he lured the cat over to him at 12:30 a.m. Friday, then grabbed it by the tail and tossed it into a fenced in area.

The two witnesses said Agent then stood by the fence and watched the dog kill the cat. They then said he took the dead cat and put it under a truck.

When deputies arrested Agent, he said he didn't throw the cat and tried to keep the two animals apart by grabbing the cat.

Agent was taken to the Land O'Lakes jail and was being held Saturday afternoon on $5,000 bail.

School's principal arrested after TV found in home

DADE CITY -- The principal of the Pasco Adventist Education Center was arrested Friday evening after a Pasco Sheriff's Office investigation into a large-screen television that was allegedly bought with school money and found in the principal's home.

According to his arrest report, Eliel David Cruz, 42, of Kissimmee was working as principal of the school on Feb. 2, 2001. He was authorized to write checks up to $1,000 to buy items for the school. The report said deputies found a 43-inch TV in his house, which he admitted purchasing with school funds, and arrested him at 7:53 p.m. Friday.

Cruz was facing a charge of grand theft and was released Saturday from the the Land O'Lakes jail on $5,000 bail.

Driver charged with assault after chase

WEEKI WACHEE -- A New Port Richey man was arrested Saturday morning after leading Hernando sheriff's deputies on a chase that reached speeds as high as 100 mph, officials said. Randy Petersilge, 34, of 10625 Hilltop Drive, New Port Richey, was being held in the Hernando County Jail on Saturday on charges of felony fleeing and eluding and two charges of aggravated assault on a police officer.

The chase began at U.S. 19 and State Road 50, then headed north on U.S. 19 and east on Lakefront Road before it ended on Osceola, according to Sheriff's Office records.

21-year-old charged with reckless driving, assault

NEW PORT RICHEY -- A 21-year old Port Richey man led Port Richey police on a chase through city and county streets that reached 75 mph in residential areas and ended with him hiding under a house, his arrest report said.

According to Port Richey police, Christopher Scott Hopkins, of 11336 Cockle Drive, was seen driving fast on U.S. 19. When an officer tried to stop him, Hopkins made a U-turn on U.S. 19, and began driving down side streets, authorities reported. During the chase, police said, Hopkins drove at a Pasco County sheriff's deputy's car and a Port Richey police cruiser, forcing both officers to dodge his car. The report said Hopkins also ran over street signs and drove on sidewalks, as well as driving the wrong way down Ridge Road for about 500 yards.

At the intersection of Madison Street and Nebraska Avenue, Hopkins bailed out of his car and ran. A Pasco County sheriff's dog was called in and found Hopkins hiding under a house.

Hopkins is facing charges of fleeing to elude, reckless driving, resisting arrest without violence, driving on a suspended license and two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He was being held on $70,750 bail at the Land O'Lakes jail Saturday afternoon.

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