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Suspect rampages in stolen patrol car

Sean McKell started his Monday morning by refusing to pay $1.25 in bus fare.

He ended the day at the county jail.

In between, authorities said, the 30-year-old McKell stole a sheriff's cruiser, tried to run down a deputy, slammed into two other cruisers and led officers on a chase during morning rush hour.

Once they boxed in McKell and the stolen cruiser on a busy highway, eight deputies fought furiously to subdue him, authorities said.

"One deputy said it was one of the most violent struggles he had been involved with," said Hillsborough Sheriff's Lt. Rod Reder.

McKell, of 9105 17th Drive NW in Bradenton, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence, driving with a suspended license and aggravated assault on a paramedic.

He was held at the Hillsborough County Jail on $29,750 bail.

Monday's arrest was the second in five days for McKell.

He was arrested Thursday by Manatee County sheriff's deputies on charges of burglary, aggravated assault and criminal mischief.

He posted a portion of $21,000 bail on Friday and was released, Manatee authorities said.

McKell's troubles in Hillsborough started Monday at 6:45 a.m.

According to Reder, someone at the Wal-Mart on Causeway Boulevard in Brandon dialed 911, saying that McKell was causing a disturbance.

Deputies arrived and discovered McKell had boarded the Route 8 HARTline bus.

HARTline spokeswoman Pamela Davis said that McKell initially refused to pay his fare, but another passenger paid the $1.25 for him.

Deputies flagged the bus down on Falkenburg Road.

There were 18 passengers and a driver aboard, but no onewas threatened or injured.

As deputies boarded the front door of the bus, McKell ran out through the back door, according to Reder.

He climbed into Deputy Sherry Perez's patrol cruiser, which was idling with its lights and sirens on.

The deputy was not in the car at the time.

McKell nearly struck Deputy Dan Johnson, who was standing near the bus, Reder said.

Johnson was not hurt.

McKell also plowed into another cruiser on Falkenburg Road.

The officer driving that cruiser, Deputy Curtis Warren, was taking a prisoner to the Falkenburg Road jail.

Neither Warren nor the prisoner was hurt.

The impact of the crash punctured one tire on the cruiser McKell was driving.

Reder said McKell drove down Falkenburg, then turned west on State Road 60.

Deputies cornered McKell near U.S. 301.

There, McKell plowed intoDeputy Mike Cherup's cruiser.

Once stopped, McKell refused to get out of the car, Reder said.

Deputies broke the driver's and passenger's side windows to get to him, eventually using pepper spray and a baton.

Traffic was snarled on S.R. 60 by the fracas.

Officials had to close the road and reroute traffic.

Reder said that McKell kicked, spit and fought with eight deputies. One deputy's arm was injured in the fight.

After he was handcuffed, McKell was taken to Tampa General Hospital.

On the way, Reder said, he spit on a paramedic in the ambulance.

McKell was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and taken to jail.

A booking photo of McKell was not available Monday because McKell was "too weak" to stand for the photo, Reder said.

_ Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Tamara Lush can be reached at 226-3373 or