DUNEDIN — Ruth Johnson can't say enough about the bushes behind her villa, the ones that saved her house from damage.
On Wednesday, the 78-year-old Dunedin woman came home from lunch to find police cars all over her quiet neighborhood and a green Honda Civic crashed in her back yard.
The small yard behind 1530 Heather Ridge Blvd., it turns out, was the end of a police chase that led authorities through two cities.
When the Civic left the road and plowed through Johnson's yard, only the shrubs stood between the car and her building.
"Those bushes stopped him," she said. "So thank God."
The events leading up to this crash began at 2:52 p.m. a few miles away in Clearwater.
Police tried to make a traffic stop at Myrtle Avenue and Fairmont Street, but the driver of the car, Anthony B. Williams, 24, of Clearwater, didn't pull over, police said.
Instead, as another Clearwater officer arrived, Williams accelerated and almost struck the officer's car. When the officer swerved, Williams took off.
Police chased him northeast through Clearwater and into Dunedin.
At one point, police said, Williams got into a minor accident with another car. At another, he threw a bag of cocaine out the window, police say. At various times he tried to hit two more police cars.
The chaos ended abruptly at Eisenhower Drive and Heather Ridge Boulevard when Williams ran over a set of bushes by the street and then crashed into a second set closer to Johnson's villa.
No one was injured in the pursuit, police said.
Williams faces three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer as well as charges of fleeing and eluding, hit and run, possession of cocaine and driving with a license suspended or revoked.
Williams has a record of arrests on drug and other charges.
He was being processed into the jail Wednesday night.
Times photographer Douglas R. Clifford contributed to this report. Jonathan Abel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4157.