Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Public safety

Blacked-out windows caused Pasco deputy to pull over man later accused of trying to burn his wife

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TAMPA — Three days before an estranged husband tried to set his wife on fire, authorities said, a deputy had noticed something odd.

Matthew Wong, 50, was driving through Wesley Chapel with trash bags covering some of his windows. A Pasco County sheriff's deputy pulled him over.

On Monday, Wong would bring that car to the Carrollwood apartments where his wife lived. He'd chase her with a bottle of gasoline and a lighter, according to deputies, accidentally setting himself on fire instead.

But on Friday, Wong was just the subject of a traffic stop.

The Pasco deputy told Wong the window treatment appeared suspicious. Many drug dealers had blacked-out windows, he said, according to a sheriff's incident report.

Wong said he's no drug dealer — just too cheap to pay for real window tinting.

Then the deputy spotted a sweater on the floor that appeared to be hiding something, the report shows. He asked Wong to move it. Wong did.

The deputy reported what he saw: a cardboard box with a red plastic gas can inside.

The deputy told Wong to remove the plastic from the front windows and let him go with a warning.

Wong remained in critical condition Tuesday evening at Tampa General Hospital.

Times staff writer Marissa Lang contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

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