TARPON SPRINGS — A local man has been charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer after swerving his SUV into a police sergeant pursuing him on foot, authorities said.
Tarpon Springs police officers attempted to pull over Jerry Jeffries, 55, for a traffic violation at about 3 a.m. Wednesday on E Spruce Street in Tarpon Springs.
Ignoring a patrol car's lights and sirens, Jeffries was seen "waving his extended middle finger at officers" as he drove away, according to arrest reports. He briefly stopped, then started driving again when officers exited their vehicle to approach him, police said.
In the ensuing chase, Jeffries swerved his 1996 Jeep SUV into Sgt. Robert Faugno, who was running alongside the car, police said. He also resisted officers and tried to punch one in the head when he was finally stopped, according to arrest reports.
Jeffries was charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer, resisting an officer with violence, and driving with a suspended or revoked license. He was being held on $80,000 bail at the Pinellas County Jail.
Peter Jamison can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.