After crash, man punches fire official, burns hole in pavement, according to police

Clearwater Police say a man involved in a three-vehicle crash punched a fire official as he was trying to help.  Then he burned a hole in the pavement trying to get away.
 
The minor accident happened about 4:30 p.m. in the southbound lanes of Myrtle Avenue Avenue just north of Court Street.
 
When Fire Inspector II Ron Neuberger tried to reach into the truck to make sure the ignition was turned off, he was punched by the driver, Gary Steven Cook of Palm Harbor.
 
Neuberger was not injured by the punch, fire officials said.
 
Cook had two other cars in front of him and could not get away, but continued to gun the gas pedal until the tire had burned up and dug a hole several inches deep in the blacktop.
 
Cook was arrested for battery on a firefighter, a felony.  He also faces a felony DUI charge and has three prior DUI convictions.
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