Saturday, December 16, 2017
Public safety

Driver who crashed into two deputies' cruisers on U.S. 19 faces multiple charges

PALM HARBOR — Deputies arrested a man Friday accused of driving recklessly on U.S. 19 and crashing into several vehicles, including two patrol cruisers, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

John Raymond Diede, 34, of Clearwater, faces two counts of aggravated battery on an officer with a motor vehicle, one count of aggravated battery with a vehicle, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, and resisting arrest with violence.

About 11:30 a.m. Friday, deputies received a report about the pickup truck heading north on U.S. 19 near Curlew Road. Deputies Timothy McTaggart and William Copley saw the truck, driven by Diede, weaving and swerving through traffic. They tried to initiate a traffic stop, but Diede continued driving.

With deputies behind him, Diede stopped a half-mile north near Alderman Road. Both deputies positioned their cruisers next to his car. As McTaggart got out of his cruiser, Diede drove forward, striking McTaggart's door, the Sheriff's Office said.

Diede continued forward, swerving into Copley's cruiser and then slamming into another vehicle.

When he refused to emerge from his truck, McTaggart and Copley broke the driver's side window to get him out. But Diede continued to refuse and grabbed onto his steering wheel.

Deputies then Tasered Diede and arrested him, the Sheriff's Office said.

McTaggart and Copley were treated for minor injuries.

Diede was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and was then transferred to the Pinellas County jail.

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