TAMPA — A 21-year-old Tampa man who fought with police, sending two to the hospital, escaped from a Tampa police vehicle early Friday after an officer rolled down the window for the man, authorities say.
Law enforcement, with the help of a police dog, soon caught Tevin James Young. The officer is not going to be disciplined because he acted within policy by letting the suspect get some air. This is what police say happened:
About 2 a.m. Friday, Young resisted officers as they tried to arrest him on drug charges.
An officer used a Taser to slow Young, but he pulled the prongs off. Two officers who wrestled Young to the ground ended up going to St. Joseph's Hospital because of cuts they got during the fight.
A third officer drove Young to the Orient Road jail. On the way, Young complained of feeling sick and overheated.
Police vehicles have air conditioners, but the suspect is separated from the front of the car by a "cage." There are holes that allow air to circulate throughout the car, but police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said it can still get hot in the back.
Officer Derrick Warren, 30, who was hired in March 2011, rolled down the window.
"In was an act of kindness," she said. "And he acted 100 percent within policy."
Also, at that point Young appeared compliant, McElroy said. It is common, she said, for suspects to initially resist police and then become cooperative.
Police now believe Young was lying and was not truly ill.
Instead, Young had slipped his left hand out of the handcuffs, and just outside the jail's booking gate, he reached his arm out of the open window and pulled the door handle.
The door opened and he ran.
The escape was captured on surveillance video at the jail. It shows the officer attempt to run after Young but stop as the car rolled forward. He put the car in park and then gave chase.
Other law enforcement officers were called to the area, and they set up a perimeter. They found Young in the woods near a pond and told him to surrender. When he didn't, they sent in a police dog, which bit him.
Young was taken to Tampa General Hospital and later booked into the jail.
He faces drug and weapons charges because when police initially took him into custody, he had a gun, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and other narcotics, police say.
He also faces charges of obstructing or opposing an officer with violence, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of a means of protection, violation of probation and escape while transporting.
Young has one previous arrest on record. He was booked last year in Pinellas County on robbery, marijuana and grand theft charges and sent to pretrial diversion, state records show.
Tampa police do not plan to open an internal investigation or discipline Warren. And they do not plan to change their policy.
"We train our officers to be compassionate, to be humane and to treat everyone with respect," McElroy said.
Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.