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Stop sticks end police chase after bank robbery

BROOKSVILLE — A Citrus County bank robbery suspect on Thursday led authorities on a chase along Hernando County highways with speeds topping 100 mph before coming to an end at the city limits.

Just before 1:30 p.m., Citrus County sheriff's deputies received a call about a robbery at the Brannen Bank on U.S. 41 in Floral City. The suspect wore a straw cowboy hat, oversized sunglasses and a bandana over his face as he approached two tellers, displayed a handgun and demanded money, said Gail Tierney, spokeswoman for the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

The tellers complied and the man, later identified by officials as Derick Grissom, 25, left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. He drove away in a maroon Chevy Caprice headed south. Four employees were in the bank but no customers were present at the time, Tierney said.

Sheriff's Office helicopters from Citrus and Hernando counties began tracking Grissom southbound on Interstate 75 and followed him from above as he exited at State Road 50 heading west.

Brooksville police Officer Shawn Terry deployed stop sticks at Cortez Boulevard and E Jefferson Street, and the spikes flattened all four tires of the suspect's car. Driving on the car's rims, Grissom continued driving on E Jefferson Street and nearly collided head-on with Brooksville police Sgt. Jason Brough.

Grissom's 35-mile getaway ended on E Jefferson Street near Emerson Road, where he was taken into custody without incident, Brooksville police Chief George Turner said.

Grissom listed a St. Cloud address, but Tierney said he has ties to the Floral City area. No charges had been filed Thursday evening, Citrus authorities said.

No one was injured in the chase and no property damage was reported. Turner credited his officer's use of the stop sticks for preventing a dangerous situation. "It saved the guy from getting in the city limits and more congested areas," he said.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Stop sticks end police chase after bank robbery 06/19/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 20, 2008 6:39pm]

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