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Pasco driver accused of dragging deputy 30 feet

PORT RICHEY — The following is an abridged history of Brian Patrick Mitchell's driving history, as told by state records:

In 1996 and again 10 months later, he was cited for failing to obey a stop sign.

In 1997, when he was just 16, he was cited for an open container violation.

The next year, Mitchell faced a criminal charge of DUI with property damage or personal injury and was driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.177, more than twice the level at which Florida law presumes impairment.

He has been cited at least three times for careless driving, five times for speeding and 11 times for failing to pay a traffic ticket.

His license is currently suspended or revoked.

But after his latest incident behind the wheel early Monday, he became "wanted for attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer," the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.

The agency said Mitchell was on the road about 4:20 a.m., driving a rented GMC Envoy SUV over the speed limit on U.S. 19.

Deputy William Orndorff pulled him over in front of Park Place Apartments, near Embassy Boulevard. Mitchell, now 27, went for Orndorff's gun, the Sheriff's Office said. The two fought and struggled, officials said, until Mitchell drove off, running over Orndorff and dragging him about 30 feet.

A woman who heard the commotion helped Orndorff to his patrol car, where he radioed for help.

Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll didn't know the woman's name but said, "We're grateful for her assistance to our deputy."

Orndorff, a four-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, was injured once before while responding to a domestic call in 2005. According to a report of the incident, a drunken, belligerent woman at a home in Hudson was beating her husband. When Orndorff tried to restrain her, the woman kicked him in the mouth, chipping his tooth.

Orndorff, 26, was treated Monday at a local hospital for a sprained ankle and bruises, Doll said, and is expected to recover fully.

The Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, launched a search for Mitchell.

He has also been arrested on drug charges, including possession of hallucinogens, marijuana, cocaine and methadone, state records show.

Mitchell's last known address was his mother's house, at 11630 Baywood Meadows Drive in New Port Richey.

As of Monday evening, authorities were still looking for him.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Pasco driver accused of dragging deputy 30 feet 05/05/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 1:58pm]

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