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Spring Hill man charged with DUI

SPRING HILL — It started, authorities say, when the red Ford F-350 sped through a stop sign in the Lake in the Woods community, nearly ran over a group of bicyclists and then drove into a yard.

Forty-one-year-old Thomas Henry Collins then backed up the truck and continued north on Cumberland Lane early Thursday evening. Soon after, a report says, he struck a van parked in front of someone's house. A few feet later, he clipped a parked SUV.

Still, authorities say, Collins kept going. He tried to turn west onto Birdland Crescent, but couldn't make the turn. He backed up to try again.

Kent Gee, who was among the bicyclists that investigators say Collins nearly hit, owned the damaged van. Authorities say Gee stopped Collins and pulled the keys out of the vehicle to prevent the suspect from causing any more damage.

Without his vehicle, a report said, Collins walked to a friend's house in the neighborhood. Gee and another man followed him there and called law enforcement.

A Hernando County sheriff's deputy later investigated and put Collins through a series of field sobriety tests, which authorities say he failed. After his arrest, a report says, Collins admitted to drinking two Bud Lights and taking two Xanax pills.

He offered two samples of his breath, which did not indicate he was under the influence of alcohol. A report says he initially agreed to give a urine sample, but then asked what would happen if "pot" or other drugs were discovered in his system. He later refused to provide the sample.

According to the Sheriff's Office website, Collins has been charged with DUI — his third violation within 10 years — three counts of DUI with property damage, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and refusal to submit to a chemical test.

He remained in custody Tuesday at the Hernando County Detention Center in lieu of $11,000 bail.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or jcox@tampabay.com.

Spring Hill man charged with DUI 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 8:11pm]

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