From traffic stop to pursuit to arrest to jail

Police say speeding, brandishing a weapon, fleeing and possessing pot got a man in trouble.

Published June 4, 2006

PINELLAS PARK - Police have caught a man they say pointed a gun at an officer during a traffic stop in mid May.

Arrested Tuesday was Tario Johnson, 26, of 1733 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Johnson was booked on charges of fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of felony possession of marijuana, according to Pinellas County Jail records.

Additional charges for auto theft are pending, said Pinellas Park police Lt. Paul Andrews.

According to Pinellas Park police records: Johnson's troubles began about 11 a.m. May 18 when he refused to stop at a speeding checkpoint. Police report sending one car after the white Dodge Magnum officers say Johnson was driving. Near 54th Avenue and 58th Street N, Johnson allegedly slowed and pointed a handgun at the officer but did not fire. He then accelerated and fled south on Interstate 275, police said.

Officers chased the Magnum south on I-275. As the car approached the Fifth Avenue S exit, the driver began throwing items out of the window.

Johnson allegedly stopped the car near 1411 James Ave. S and fled on foot. Pinellas Park police Officer Michael Bingnear chased the driver for a short distance until he lost sight of him.

Bingnear picked up a duffel bag the driver had been carrying and found five small bags of marijuana. The Magnum was reported stolen from a Clearwater car rental company.

Police said they were able to catch him using items he left behind. When he was arrested Tuesday, police reported finding marijuana on him.