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Wife charged after car chase

A pizzeria owner was arrested Monday night after she raced down State Road 44 at more than 90 mph with a 3-year-old who was not in a child-restraint device, officials reported. No one was injured in the incident, which authorities say began with an argument at Bridget's Pizzeria at SR 44 and County Road 490 in Lecanto.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney gave this account:

Dispatchers received a disturbance report from the pizzeria about 7:10 p.m. Evelyn Sarno and her husband, Joseph, who apparently own the restaurant together, were arguing and throwing dishes and food at each other. Mrs. Sarno allegedly threatened her husband with a knife, Tierney said.

Mrs. Sarno left the business with the 3-year-old, whose relation to the Sarnos could not be determined Tuesday.

As Mrs. Sarno drove away, her car scraped the cruiser of a deputy who was responding to the disturbance call. She kept on driving, and deputies chased her for eight minutes east on SR 44 and then north on County Road 491. Mrs. Sarno made a U-turn on CR 491 and turned west on SR 44.

Deputies set up a roadblock and Mrs. Sarno stopped near the Country Oaks Inn restaurant.

Mrs. Sarno, 25, of 8304 N Gatewood Drive in Citrus Springs, was charged with culpable negligence and fleeing and eluding an officer, records at the Citrus County Jail show.

Tierney said Mrs. Sarno had been charged with failure to use a child-restraint device. However, that charge was not included in Mrs. Sarno's arrest affidavit.

Bail was set at $1,000, but County Judge Gary Graham released Mrs. Sarno on her own recognizance at a hearing Tuesday morning, a jail spokeswoman said.

Joseph Sarno, who refused to comment, signed a waiver of prosecution against his wife. Court records show, however, that she is scheduled to appear in court March 6.

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