Suspect Battered Hernando Deputy then Fled handcuffed

Hernando County deputies responded to a domestic complaint at Veterans Park late yesterday afternoon. Upon making contact with a male who was involved in the situation, deputies discovered the tag on his vehicle was stolen. Deputies attempted to place him in custody. The suspect battered the deputy, then fled with one handcuff on. Returning to his vehicle, he fled the area. HCSO deputies conducted an extensive search, meeting with negative results.
Pasco County Sheriff’s Office received a BOLO from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a subjectthumbnail-1 who had resisted arrest, battered a Hernando Deputy, and fled handcuffed on one wrist in a blue Ford F150.  At approximately 6:10 pm Deputy Marc Lane spotted the vehicle driving at a high rate of speed southbound on US 41 in Land O’ Lakes and gave pursuit.  Other deputies in the area immediately responded and became involved in the pursuit.The vehicle turned into the Lake Thomas area where it struck a pole and a mailbox.  At one point, the vehicle slowed and a female jumped out of the passenger side and was apprehended by deputies.  The driver also made a turn in the subdivision and came directly at units, narrowly missing them.  The subject then fled on foot and Corporal Denbo pursued; however, the subject fled into a densely wooded, swampy area.

A perimeter was quickly established and K9 and Air promptly arrived on scene.  K9 Deputy Rob Wilkins and thumbnailCorporal Andrew Denbo tracked the subject through the swamp and eventually located the subject hiding almost entirely submerged in mud.

34-year-old Paul Daniel Smith was arrested for Flee to Elude, Aggravated Assault on LEO, and Violation of Probation.  He was transported from the scene to Spring Hill Hospital for medical clearance. Hernando County charges include Escape, Battery LEO, Resist Arrest w/Violence, and Reckless Driving. The female who jumped from the vehicle, 31-year-old Tara Berger was arrested for Lying to LEO During a Felony Investigation.

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