New freedom proved fleeting this time

Only hours out of prison, a man ends up in jail. Deputies say he went on a tear, stealing vehicles and crashing them.

Published August 18, 2006

BROOKSVILLE - A day after wrapping up a one-year prison term for grand theft auto and burglary, Blake R. Leslie was back in custody, charged with ... grand theft auto and burglary.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that he took his mom's pickup early Thursday morning, wrecked it and then fled the accident scene. And that on his way home, he broke into a house on Mondon Hill Road and stole a car.

All the while, he was bleeding from the head and left arm, courtesy of his earlier crash.

Deputies narrowed in on Leslie around 4 a.m. at his mother's house at 27233 Rochelle Road, east of Brooksville.

His mother said that when he saw the deputies coming up his driveway, Leslie took off, vowing that he wasn't going back to prison and that he'd like to kill himself.

He was captured about 9:30 a.m. hiding under a camper at his mother's home.

Leslie told detectives that he didn't remember what had happened the night before.

Since 1990, Leslie has served five terms in Florida prisons for a combined total of just under four years.

His sentences were for aggravated battery, burglary and grand theft, among others.

According to the Sheriff's Office, everything got started about 2:30 Thursday morning when his mother, Ann Leslie, called the Sheriff's Office. She said her son had been at home, screaming at his girlfriend over the phone.

He then got into Ann Leslie's pickup and drove off, apparently wrecking it on a curve along Mondon Hill Road. The circumstances of the accident are still being investigated.

A booking photo taken at the jail hours after his crash shows Leslie with his head wrapped in bandages and his nose severely cut.

At 3:30 a.m., the Sheriff's Office got a call about a burglary at a house near the scene of the crash. The owner said there was blood all over where the burglar had let himself in.

The blood is being tested to see if it matches Leslie's.

Next door, the thief stole a Buick and crashed it through the front gate, the Sheriff's Office said.

Meanwhile, deputies traced the license plate of the crashed truck back to Leslie's home.

He ran off when they arrived, so the Sheriff's Office used dogs, all-terrain vehicles and helicopters to look for him.

He was arrested and taken to Brooksville Regional Hospital.

Thursday night, he was being held at the Hernando County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or 352 754-6114.