Authorities' accounts of the incident and the way the Zephyrhills defendant was identified were challenged.
By CHASE SQUIRES
Published January 16, 2004
DADE CITY - A jury on Thursday cleared a man accused last year of fleeing from a police stop and crashing into a patrol car, acquitting him after less than 30 minutes of deliberation.
Rayzelle Darde Parker, 31, of Zephyrhills was charged with fleeing from a police stop and aggravated battery on a police officer. Jury foreman Mark Edmonds said discrepancies in the testimony, especially regarding the identification of Parker, sank the case.
Parker was arrested May 13. Officer Lynn Tabb testified at trial Wednesday that he pulled Parker over on Church Avenue because he made a turn without using a signal. Tabb said when he approached the car, Parker leaned out the window, smiled, and sped off, leading him on an 80 mph chase up Church Avenue.
Tabb said Parker crashed into an oncoming patrol vehicle moments later, then ran away.
Parker's public defender, Jason Bavol, challenged police accounts of the incident and the way Parker was later identified.
The jury of four women and two men acquitted Parker on both counts.