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Pasco deputy injured, motorcyclist killed after suspect flees traffic stop

Law enforcement officials investigate the scene on U.S. 19 north of Beverly Court in Spring Hill, where Brittany Miles’ pickup stopped after it hit a motorcyle at County Line Road.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Law enforcement officials investigate the scene on U.S. 19 north of Beverly Court in Spring Hill, where Brittany Miles’ pickup stopped after it hit a motorcyle at County Line Road.

HUDSON — For Brittany Elizabeth Miles, it didn't come to this all at once.

In a way, her 105-minute trip up eight miles of U.S. 19 — where authorities say the 21-year-old escaped custody, dragged a deputy hundreds of feet across the highway and later violently ended a man's life — began well before Tuesday morning.

The daughter of a Hernando County sheriff's deputy, according to authorities, Miles' arrest record is dotted with accusations of domestic violence, battery and drugs. At least twice, her license has been suspended. She was evicted from her Spring Hill apartment in March.

She was fired from Felony's Bar and Grill in Spring Hill last year because of poor performance after just four months on the job, a manager said. Two weeks ago, when she was charged in Pasco with possession of methamphetamine, the report listed her as a dancer at the Brass Flamingo, a gentlemen's club in Port Richey.

Once, Miles played soccer at Central High School. She walked with her senior class at graduation in 2008.

Now, she faces homicide charges.

On Tuesday, it began at 7:06 a.m. when someone following Miles' red 2002 Dodge Ram reported her to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Thirteen minutes later, authorities said, Pasco Deputy Ashley Grady pulled Miles over near U.S. 19 and Florestate Drive in Hudson on suspicion of DUI.

Miles was cuffed and placed into the back of Grady's vehicle, said Pasco sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. At least one other deputy was on scene with Grady. Somehow, Miles escaped.

She got back into the pickup, and as Grady reached inside the driver's window trying to stop her, Miles stepped on the gas. The truck dragged the deputy across three lanes of U.S. 19 and over the median before Grady was slung free.

Grady, 23, was flown by helicopter to a hospital, Doll said. She suffered minor head injuries and a few scrapes and bruises but was in fair condition.

At speeds of about 70 mph, according to one witness, Pasco deputies pursued Miles into Hernando County.

Seven miles north of Florestate Drive, Bobbi Stern of Weeki Wachee saw what was coming.

Sitting in southbound traffic on U.S. 19, waiting to make a left turn onto County Line Road, she saw the red pickup and deputies in close pursuit as they sped over a hill about a half mile away.

To Stern's left, a white truck, followed by a motorcycle, began to turn south from County Line onto U.S. 19. At 9:01 a.m., she watched Miles' truck roar into the intersection just as the white truck slipped through unscathed.

The man on the motorcycle, 66-year-old Henry F. McCain, was on his way to a regular Tuesday get-together with a group of fellow riders in Port Richey.

Miles' truck smashed into his bike, Stern said, hurling McCain north about 200 feet.

"He never even saw the truck. It was just like that," said Stern, snapping her fingers. "The whole thing just went flying."

As if McCain's black and chrome 2009 Suzuki motorcycle had exploded, gnarled strips of metal and shredded pieces of leather were strewn across the highway.

Miles sped away.

"She just kept going," Stern said, "like it was a dog she hit."

Three minutes later, after her heavily damaged truck ran off U.S. 19 less than a mile away, Miles got out and ran, authorities said. She was captured by Pasco deputies a short distance away.

The cuffs were still on at least one hand.

Her charges in Pasco will include at least fleeing to elude, escape and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer or attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, according to Pasco authorities.

Pasco sheriff's authorities said the pursuit took place because there was an attack and possibly an attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. All pursuits, Doll said, have a potential to be dangerous, adding that the way each one is handled is at the discretion of the deputies involved.

Saying the incident is still under investigation, Doll declined to explain how Miles escaped Grady's patrol car.

Grady has been with the department less than a year. In a recent performance report, she was praised for her problem solving but instructed to become more "acclimated to the proper completion of traffic citations."

The record also said she needed to be less distracted by her surroundings.

Grady attended Land O'Lakes High School and later Pasco-Hernando Community College, where she graduated with two associates' degrees in 2009 — one in business, the other in education. She also completed the Law Enforcement Basic Recruit course at the college and started at the Sheriff's Office in July.

Miles, meanwhile, was headed in the opposite direction.

Pearl Gomes, manager at Felony's, said Miles had a promising start, even earning a promotion. Soon after, things changed.

"She was a pretty smart girl, but this is what happens when you get mixed up with drugs and the wrong people," Gomes said. "It ruins your life and then it ruins other people's lives."

Hours after the incident, investigators swarmed U.S. 19 looking for evidence and inspecting Miles' vehicle on the side of the road. Its front passenger-side tire was shredded, the hood was buckled, and its bumper and grill were destroyed.

A mile south, the mangled bike and McCain's body, covered in a white sheet, lay just feet from a sign marking the Hernando County line. Beyond that, another road sign was snapped and pressed into the grass.

McCain seldom rode his bike, said neighbor Lorraine Bauer, aside from the trips down south to see his friends. His wife, Anita, was too overwhelmed to be interviewed Tuesday afternoon.

Bauer said McCain, who worked at a Thomas B. Dobies Funeral Home & Crematory, was a kind man and a good neighbor.

"He was just a wonderful person," she said. "He'd do anything for you."

News researcher Shirl Kennedy and Times news coordinator Jean Hayes contributed to this report. John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or jcox@sptimes.com.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Brittany Elizabeth Miles, charged Tuesday with injuring a Pasco sheriff's deputy and killing a motorcyclist in Hernando, had been fired from Felony's Bar and Grill in Spring Hill for poor job performance, according to a manager. The cause of her dismissal was incorrect in a story published Wednesday.

Pasco deputy injured, motorcyclist killed after suspect flees traffic stop 05/10/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 1:20pm]

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