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2-county chase ends when pursued driver hits tree

The St. Petersburg man was wanted in Pinellas County for driving with a suspended license. Now he faces more charges.

By JONATHAN ABEL and GRAHAM BRINK
Published June 3, 2006


DADE CITY - A police chase through two counties Friday ended with a crash and the suspect headed for jail.

Terrence Smith, 33, of St. Petersburg led authorities on a chase that crossed from Pasco County into Hernando County and back into Pasco before his car hit a tree, authorities said.

Smith was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding, driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest without violence and contempt of court for failing to pay child support, according to the Pasco jail.

Smith also had a warrant out of Pinellas County for driving with a suspended license.

Smith had been followed on Interstate 75 into Pasco by unmarked St. Petersburg police cars. Authorities did not reveal late Friday why St. Petersburg officers were interested enough in Smith to follow him into another county.

Eventually, the officers called the Florida Highway Patrol to pull the car over. At 3:26 p.m., a trooper attempted to make the stop, but the car sped off. The chase went north on I-75.

Smith, who was driving a black 1997 Dodge Avenger, exited east onto State Road 50 in Hernando County and then drove south on Kettering Road, according to authorities.

Smith cut through unnamed dirt roads and drove through fences before ending up in Pasco.

Deputies from Hernando and Pasco, as well as cars and an airplane from the Highway Patrol, remained in pursuit.

About 4 p.m., Smith ran off the road into a tree. He got out and started running into a field but didn't get far before he was taken down by Pasco deputies, authorities said.

Smith was taken to a Dade City hospital with minor injuries. A Hernando deputy's patrol cruiser was towed after the chase.

Wally Maffett, who works on a cattle pasture Smith ran through, had to move 350 head of cattle because of the torn fence.

After that, he drove down the dirt road in his pickup to see who was responsible, only to find that the guy had already been cuffed.

[Last modified June 3, 2006, 06:49:06]


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