TAMPA (CBSMiami) — A Florida man was jailed Sunday after stealing a truck and taking it on a reckless high-speed chase through three Florida counties, according to police.
According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Travis Duane Lovett, 22, stole a Ford pick up truck in Floral City, which is south of Ocala, around 7 a.m. on April 28. When deputies got a tip on the vehicle they located it at a residence in Inverness.
While deputies were searching the residence, Lovett was spotted inside the stolen truck and when police tried to stop him, he took off.
During the three county pursuit, deputies say Lovett drove the truck towards one deputy, in an attempt to run him over, but he jumped out of the way without getting hit. Lovett also tried to hit another deputy while trying to elude capture and that deputy was forced off the road to avoid a crash, said police.
During Lovett’s careless joyride, police say he drove recklessly on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic and through populated areas with pedestrians, who he almost hit.
The Florida Highway Patrol was called in to assist when the pursuit reached Hernando County to the south.
There, authorities observed Lovett point a handgun towards the back window of the truck and he fired three shots at the responding deputies. One bullet hit a trooper’s front windshield.
Police say the pursuit continued into Sumter County, to the east, where deputies used the PIT maneuver on Lovett, which caused his truck to flip over multiple times.
Lovett was thrown from the truck and airlifted to a hospital for treatment of his injuries.
He has since been taken into custody and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and a count of aggravated flee/eluding law enforcement.
“Incidents like this are always extremely dangerous. We try to use every precaution possible when we respond to these types of incidents,” said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “When we have a suspect who is hell-bent on avoiding all contact with law enforcement, their behavior becomes unpredictable and erratic. This is especially true if they are dead set on not being caught, then they will risk their life, the lives of innocent citizens and the lives of all our law enforcement deputies.”