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Tampa man arrested after stealing box truck, deliberately ramming two ASO K-9 vehicles

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Brandon James Baker, 33, was arrested this morning after allegedly stealing a box truck in Hillsborough County, driving the wrong way on I-75 at high speeds, then driving the wrong way on Archer Road and eventually hitting two different Alachua County Sheriff’s Office K-9 vehicles (with the deputy and K-9 in the vehicle), along with two other patrol vehicles, before trying to flee on foot and being apprehended.

The incident began at 6:48 a.m. when the Jacksonville Regional Communications Center sent out an alert about a stolen vehicle northbound on I-75 around mile marker 350. A Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Trooper saw the truck at 6:56 a.m. and began following it; the trooper noted that the truck was improperly changing lanes across all three lanes, without regard for the traffic, even before he turned on his lights and siren.

A second trooper joined the chase at 7:06 a.m., and they both turned on their lights and sirens, but the truck did not pull over. A third trooper joined the chase at 7:09 a.m., and the truck exited at CR 234 at 7:10 a.m., failing to stop at the stop sign and getting right back on the ramp onto I-75 northbound.

At 7:12 a.m., the truck cut across the grass median on the interstate and drove north in the southbound lanes, “demonstrating a wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property.” At 7:14 a.m., the truck cut back across the median and continued driving north in the northbound lanes. Alachua County Sheriff’s (ASO) deputies deployed stop sticks just south of the Archer Road exit, which flattened the truck’s right rear tire, but it continued traveling north and exited onto Archer Road.

On Archer Road, the truck crossed several times onto the wrong side of the road, driving into oncoming traffic and almost crashing into several vehicles. At 7:22 a.m., ASO tried a PIT maneuver, but it was unsuccessful. The truck entered the Best Buy parking lot at 7:23 a.m. and allegedly intentionally hit a marked ASO K-9 patrol vehicle, which was occupied by both the deputy and the K-9 and was disabled after the crash.

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The truck continued east on Archer Road, where it allegedly intentionally struck another marked ASO K-9 patrol vehicle, occupied by both a deputy and K-9, then turned north on SW 34th Street, again going against traffic, and turned onto SW 20th Avenue. An ASO unit tried a PIT maneuver again and forced the truck into the Crunch Fitness parking lot. The truck again allegedly intentionally hit another marked ASO vehicle in the parking lot, then drove back onto SW 34th Street, where ASO succesfully stopped it with a PIT maneuver.

The driver, later identified as Baker, then fled on foot and was immediately taken into custody. After the driver exited the vehicle, the truck continued across the median unoccupied and collided with a Florida Highway Patrol vehicle.

Baker was placed in the back of an FHP patrol vehicle, where he managed to bring his hands to the front of his body and started pulling on wires under the front passenger seat, damaging the back seat camera. Baker was transported to an emergency room to be medically cleared and then booked into the Alachua County Jail.

At the time of his arrest, he reportedly had 3 gift cards and one debit card belonging to another person, along with a fuel card. Post Miranda, Baker reportedly said he got the cards from the seat of the truck and put them in his pocket.

Baker has been charged with five counts of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing with injury or damage, resisting an officer’s request to inspect a commercial vehicle, fraudulent use of debit cards, theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, property damage under $200, three counts of hit and run with property damage, and a third or subsequent violation of driving without a valid license. He is being held without bail pending first appearance.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

  • Thank God he didn’t kill anyone in his quest to stuff ballot drop boxes.

    • Pretty sure you will get banned for that comment (or maybe you won’t). This lovely conservative forum already banned me for typing “Election Day 2000 Mules Ballot Delivery Truck?”

      LackOfCriticalThinking, maybe you will always have more special privilege than I do

    • police should start using that brand of trucks instead…9 min chase, jumping curbs, hitting cars…F&F movie style!!

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