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Joyride's toll: 4 cruisers, 3 hurt deputies, 1 roommate's car, officials say

SAFETY HARBOR — A 36-year-old Largo man was arrested Monday night after stealing his roommate's car, taking it on a joyride and striking several sheriff's cruisers in an attempt to elude arrest, authorities said.

A Pinellas sheriff's deputy tried to pull over Samuel H. George around 7:30 p.m. after watching him speed through a red light at McMullen-Booth Road and Main Street, according to a sheriff's report.

Instead of stopping, George hit the gas of the 2001 Mitsubishi Galant, accelerating to 80 mph before the deputy shut off his cruiser's lights and declined to pursue.

"He got the tag number, he got a good look at the guy, he knew he could ID him later," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jim Bordner said.

Using that information, deputies arrived at 907 Leona Drive in Largo about 45 minutes later, where Jonathan Miller, 49, told investigators his roommate, Samuel George, had taken his car without permission.

Then, the Mitsubishi appeared on the block. The front end was damaged. George was behind the wheel and nearly hit a marked patrol car while rolling by, authorities said.

George tried to escape again, and this time he struck another deputy's cruiser before speeding away toward the intersection of Indian Rocks Road and Bluffs Road. The chase ended there.

Almost.

The car spun to a stop after deputies used an immobilization maneuver. But George wasn't finished, deputies said. He accelerated again, this time taking aim at a sheriff's deputy, who jumped on the hood of a cruiser to avoid being hit.

George hit three more cruisers in his final escape attempt, injuring three deputies in the process, authorities said. One of them was treated and released from a local hospital.

George was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on charges that included attempted second-degree murder on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest without violence, auto theft, misdemeanor theft, possession of marijuana, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident with damage.

He was being held at the jail Tuesday in lieu of $151,750 bail.

Joyride's toll: 4 cruisers, 3 hurt deputies, 1 roommate's car, officials say 04/15/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:34pm]
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