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Teen detained in three crashes

Published Oct. 7, 2005

In traffic-dense West Pasco, Trooper Kirby Overcash is always busy, investigating one traffic accident after another, moving constantly from wreck to wreck.

But in nine years as a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, he said, he never had seen anything like what happened Thursday afternoon.

Every time Overcash showed up at an accident, the car that had caused it already had vanished.

In each case, it was an old, blue Volvo whose teenage driver had smacked into another vehicle and driven off. And in each case, the trooper said, a teenage passenger in the Volvo let loose with a string of obscenities to the other driver.

Each accident, Overcash said, "appeared to me like it was almost intentional."

Troopers and Pasco sheriff's deputies eventually ended the demolition derby about 3 p.m. on Trouble Creek Road and Grand Boulevard, where they found the blue Volvo after it had hit a Lincoln Continental stopped at the light.

The driver of the Volvo, 18-year-old Michael Todd Knauber, of Salsbury Drive in Holiday Lake Estates, was in custody Thursday afternoon. Authorities were considering several charges, including leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest, and Knauber's blood was being tested for drugs or alcohol, Overcash said.

The name of the passenger, who wasn't arrested, wasn't available.

No one was injured in the accidents, and the three cars that were hit sustained only minor damage, Overcash said.

The blue 1979 Volvo, its back window covered in rock group bumper stickers saying "Nirvana" and "B---h--- Surfers," was towed away. The car's owners didn't brag about its speed _ one bumper sticker said "0 to 60 in 15 minutes" _ but they could boast of the car's durability. The Volvo sustained only one broken left headlight.

The hunt for the blue Volvo started shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, when Overcash investigated a minor accident on Mile Stretch Road, where a woman said her Ford was struck from behind as she was stopped to turn into the Holiday post office. The Volvo took off after the passenger cursed at her, she told Overcash.

Overcash said he finished his report and proceeded on to the next call, a minor accident on U.S. 19 at Darlington Road that had happened while he investigated the Mile Stretch accident.

When he got there, a man said a blue Volvo had struck his Ford from the rear and had disappeared. Both drivers who had been hit had gotten the Volvo's tag number.

As Overcash drove to the Holiday Lake Estates address listed on the car's registration, the third call came in. Sheriff's deputies were standing by at Trouble Creek and Grand with Knauber.