NewsCitrus, Hernando County


VIDEO: Pasco deputies arrest suspect hiding in swamp

Posted at 10:01 AM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 19:00:48-04

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — A 34-year-old Hernando County man was arrested when Pasco deputies found him hiding in a swamp Tuesday evening after a short high-speed chase.

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The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said they received a "be on (the) look-out" (BOLO) alert from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office after Paul Daniel Smith, 34, resisted arrest, battered a deputy and left the area in a blue Ford F150 while one of his wrists was handcuffed.

Officials said, at approximately 6:10 p.m., Deputy Marc Lane spotted a vehicle driving at a high rate of speed southbound on US 41 in Land O' Lakes. He immediately realized it was Smith and began a pursuit along with District STAR Units in the area.

Deputies said Smith turned into the Lake Thomas area where he hit a pole and a mailbox. At one point, he even slowed down and Tara Berger, 31, jumped out of the passenger side of the truck — police arrested her for lying to LEO during a felony investigation.

Deputies said Smith eventually slowed down after nearly striking deputies and ran into a densely wooded, swampy area.

K9 Knox, Deputy Rob Wilkins and Corporal Andrew Denbo followed him into the swamp and located him almost entirely hidden with just his head above the mud.

Knox’s specialty is finding people, whether it’s missing kids or wanted men.





The toughest thing is just moving around because we were sinking down to our knees,” said Deputy Wilkins. After several minutes and with the assistance of other deputies, they arrested Smith and contacted Hernando County to let them know of his arrest.

Smith is being charged for flee to elude, aggravated assault on LEO, and violation of probation by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office is pursuing warrants for multiple felony charges in their jurisdiction.  

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