Sarasota police shoot driver of car stolen out of Manatee

ejohnson@bradenton.comJanuary 3, 2013 

SARASOTA — Sarasota police officers early Thursday shot and wounded the driver of a car reported stolen out of Manatee County after she drove toward officers and crashed with three patrol cars, according to the Sarasota Police Department.

The driver, Stephanie Ann Hicks, 34, was treated and released at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and taken to the Sarasota County jail. Hicks, who has an extensive criminal history, faces multiple charges related to the shooting, including six counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, police said.

About 1:57 a.m., officers tried to stop the stolen vehicle near the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Central Avenue. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office had issued a bulletin about the black 2012 Nissan car less than a half-hour earlier.

When the vehicle reached a dead end on Central Avenue located about a block north of the intersection, the driver, later identified as Hicks, turned the vehicle around, striking a fence, according to a news release.

The vehicle was then facing south, and several officers were out of their patrol cars and ordering the suspects, Hicks and a passenger, Floyd David Lee Laycock, 22, to get out of the stolen car, police said.

Hicks accelerated toward the officers and collided with three patrol cars. The officers then opened fire, according to the report.

The car continued south on Central Avenue until it struck two trees and became disabled.

Hicks, who had suffered two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds, got out of the car and was taken into custody.

Laycock refused to get out of the car until forced to do so by a police dog, who bit the suspect, police said. He was also taken to the hospital for treatment. Laycock will be charged with obstruction and could face additional charges “if he knew the car was stolen or had anything to do with attempting to run over the police officers,” said Capt. Paul Sutton.

Six officers will be placed on routine administrative leave as the police department and state attorney’s office review the incident, Sutton said. “Those are the officers believed to have fired,” Sutton said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to interview the officers. There is an obvious threat to the officers when you have three police cars struck by the vehicle.”

In addition to physical evidence of the damaged patrol cars, Sutton said Hicks commented on what she did as she exited the vehicle. “She made statements that she should not have done what she did,” Sutton explained.

The police officers and K-9 on scene were not injured.

Police said Hicks has previously been arrested 30 times, including 18 times in Florida and 12 times in Tennessee. Previous arrests were for aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, evading arrest, narcotics, prostitution and driver’s license violations. Her driver’s license has been revoked seven times and suspended seven times, and she has been classified as a habitual traffic offender, according to police.

Sutton said the Sarasota Police Department has arrested Hicks before, but was unaware of any pending cases against her.

Laycock has 17 previous arrests on his record, including for carjacking, burglary and weapons violations, police said.

Anyone with information about what happened should call police at 941-954-7086.

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