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Palm Harbor Beacon
Man arrested after hitting two sheriff’s cars
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PALM HARBOR – Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Clearwater man Friday morning after he ignored a traffic stop, and eventually hit two sheriff’s cruisers and a civilian’s vehicle before then resisting arrest.

John Raymond Diede, 34, was charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement office, one count of aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence and reckless driving.

According to the sheriff’s report, the incident occurred about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 17. Diede was arrested in the area of U.S. 19 and Alderman Road.

Deputies initially responded to a call about a reckless driver traveling northbound in the area of U.S. 19 and Curlew Road. Deputies Timothy McTaggart and William Copley observed the suspect’s vehicle weaving and swerving through traffic in the area of U.S. 19 and Nebraska Avenue. Deputies initiated a traffic stop and the suspect refused to stop. The suspect traveled about a half mile before coming to a stop at U.S. 19 and Alderman Road.

Both deputies positioned their cruisers next to the suspect’s vehicle. As McTaggart began to exit his marked cruiser, the suspect drove forward, hitting the cruiser’s door. The suspect then continued to drive forward, swerving into Copley’s cruiser. The suspect continued to drive forward, intentionally striking the rear of a civilian’s vehicle in an attempt to push through the intersection.

McTaggart and Copley then approached the suspect’s vehicle, and Diede was told to exit the vehicle. When Diede refused to obey the deputies’ commands, they broke the driver’s side window in an attempt to get the suspect out of the vehicle.

Diede still did not obey the commands to exit the vehicle and grabbed on to the steering wheel. Deputies deployed an electronic control device at Diede. Additional deputies arrived on scene and were able to place the suspect under arrest.

Diede was arrested and transported to the Pinellas County Jail without further incident.

Deputy McTaggart, who has been employed by the sheriff’s office since 2004, and Deputy Copley, a sheriff’s employee since 2001, were treated for minor injuries. No one else was injured during the incident.

Deputies said it does not appear that alcohol or drug impairment were factors in the incident.
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