BRANDON — A Lakeland man driving on a suspended license led deputies on a chase through Brandon and Tampa, trying at one point to hijack a moving pickup truck, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
Despite his efforts, 22-year-old Corey Lavon Johnson Jr. is in jail on a suspended license charge — and for a long list of other crimes including battery and carjacking.
Just after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, deputies received reports of a motorcyclist driving west in the eastbound emergency lane of Interstate 4 near McIntosh Road. The Sheriff's Office sent out a helicopter and the crew soon found a motorcyclist matching the offender's description riding south down Interstate 75. He exited at State Road 60.
Deputies on the ground pulled over the biker, later identified as Johnson, near Westfield Brandon mall, and he told deputies he had been driving the wrong way because he was looking for a part of his motorcycle seat that fell off.
But when deputies asked him to step off the bike, he sped away, they said.
The helicopter was still overhead. The Sheriff's Office released video shot from the aircraft showing the chase that followed.
Johnson took off toward Tampa on Adamo Drive. He ran red lights and drove over a median, stopping at a Citgo station just east of U.S. 301 to buy a new shirt. He swapped his white shirt for a black one.
But the helicopter crew saw everything.
"All right guys, he just ran around," a deputy said from the aircraft. "He's changed shirts and he's running around."
Johnson left the motorcycle behind and ran across SR 60, trying to wave down cars.
He offered a driver in a red truck money for a ride, deputies said, but the driver realized something was wrong and declined.
Johnson then tried to pull the man out of the truck but the man kept driving and pushing Johnson away, deputies said. With the truck door open, the driver struggled to stay on the road as he fought with Johnson.
Johnson gave up and was soon apprehended.
He faces one count of fleeing to elude, driving with a suspended license, carjacking and battery and two counts of resisting an officer without violence.
He is being held in a Hillsborough County jail without bail.
Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.