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Chase, scuffle end in death

A man's erratic behavior draws the attention of deputies, who later Taser him.

By STEPHEN NOHLGREN
Published May 8, 2007


SEMINOLE - An unidentified man died Monday night after Pinellas County sheriff's deputies shot him with a Taser following a car chase.

The man's death ended a bizarre series of events that included an unrelated abduction, a ramming of police cruisers and then a slow chase through the Oakhurst neighborhood of Seminole, sheriff's spokesman Jim Bordner said.

Bordner was still piecing together details late Monday night and could not identify the man's name or age.

Earlier in the evening, deputies had arrested a man in an armed abduction. That man told deputies that he had thrown a gun into the Intracoastal Waterway while driving between Indian Rocks Beach and the mainland on State Road 688.

While searching for the gun under the bridge about 8 p.m., a deputy noticed a man in a Dodge pickup "behaving erratically, flailing his arms, " Bordner said.

The deputy called for backup and two more cruisers arrived. As three deputies walked toward the truck, the man rammed two cruisers, smashed into a fence and then backed up again. At that point, two of the deputies fired their guns at the truck because it was a threat to them, Bordner said.

The pickup got out from under the bridge and headed east on Walsingham Road. The deputies could not follow because two cruisers were disabled and a third was blocked, Bordner said. However, another deputy, responding to a radio description of the events, spotted a truck with no headlights, with front end damage and smoke spewing out.

Several deputies chased that truck at 35 to 45 mph until it drove onto a lawn in a residential area at 137th Street and Antigua Drive.

When the driver ignored orders to turn the truck off, deputies broke at least two windows with batons and shot him with a Taser. As they took him out of the truck, Bordner said, "they noticed he was in medical distress" and called paramedics, who took him to a hospital, where he died.

Bordner declined to identify any of the deputies involved, saying the agency has begun an investigation. None of the deputies were injured, he said.