A traffic stop in Tampa resulted in a high-speed chase in Hernando County until the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) finally caught up with the driver of the speeding SUV in the parking lot of a truck stop just off I-75. Deputies from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCO) were monitoring the pursuit but not involved in it, said HCSO Public Relations Manager Denise Moloney.
FHP Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Sgt. Steve Gaskins said that shortly before 8 p.m. on July 30, the agency received a request from the Tampa Police Department (TPD) for assistance in apprehending the driver of a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) that was involved in a traffic stop in Hillsborough County. The TPD aviation unit was already tracking the SUV, which was headed north on I-75 into Pasco County.
Troopers were already stationed on I-75 south of SR-50 in Hernando County, where they intercepted the speeding SUV. The vehicle exited onto eastbound SR-50, where FHP troopers attempted to make a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled eastbound on SR-50, then northbound on SR-471.
According to Gaskins, the driver of the SUV made a U-turn on US-301 and traveled west on CR-470.
A pursuing trooper attempted and failed to perform a precision immobilization technique (PIT) to stop the SUV as it entered the I-75 northbound ramp from CR-470. A PIT maneuver used by law enforcement to force a fleeing vehicle to turn sideways abruptly and cause the driver to lose control and come to a stop.
The SUV then continued north on I-75 until it exited onto westbound SR-44, where it entered the parking lot of the Pilot Travel Center and became blocked in.
Troopers subsequently arrested the driver of the SUV, 33-year-old Daquann Marquise Stephens, and took him into custody. He was booked into the Sumter County Jail on charges of fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers, reckless driving, felony driving on a suspended or revoked license, possession of marijuana, and a Hillsborough County warrant for a domestic violence charge.
He is being held without bond.