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Ticketed driver tries to hit deputies, officials say

PALM HARBOR — Instead of grumbling and driving away after getting two traffic tickets, a Safety Harbor man tried to ram the cruiser of the deputies who stopped him, authorities say.

Anthony Louis Lanni, 30, was arrested early Thursday after trying to hit a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office patrol car, sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said.

Barreda said Lanni was initially stopped at Lake St. George Drive and Wesleyan Drive in Palm Harbor after running a stop sign. He did not stop immediately and was verbally abusive to the deputies, she said.

After getting his tickets, Lanni drove to a side road and waited, deputies said. When the two deputies started to move, he drove his 1984 BMW into the intersection in an attempt to hit the patrol car, officials said. The cruiser swerved to avoid Lanni's car.

The deputies ordered Lanni out of the BMW. He started to walk away before he was taken to the ground and arrested, officials said.

Lanni's girlfriend, Brittni Glover, said he is a devoted father and a hard worker. She said he wouldn't try to hit the cruiser; the gears on the old BMW stick and cause the car to jerk forward.

"He's a good person," she said. "He's not some crazy maniac or anything."

It was not Lanni's first ticket, according to court records. His driver's license has been suspended more than 10 times for not paying traffic tickets on time and he has gone to driving school four times in the last seven years.

Lanni was charged with reckless driving, resisting arrest and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. That's in addition to tickets for running a stop sign and having an obstructed license plate. He remained at the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday evening in lieu of $5,400 bail.

Ticketed driver tries to hit deputies, officials say 06/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 9, 2008 1:41pm]
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