Crime

He drove off and later jumped a fence, cops say. K9 and helicopter found him anyway

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said a man tried to drive away, run away and even jumped a fence before he was arrested early Wednesday.

Thomas Grieco was spotted at the Circle K, 3300 State Road 70 E. in Bradenton, just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.

Grieco, deputies said, is known to have felony warrants for his arrest. But when deputies tried to perform a traffic stop, Grieco took off.

Deputies followed his vehicle on State Road 70 East to Interstate 75 south. According to the sheriff’s office, traffic at the time was light and the weather was clear.

The sheriff’s office helicopter watched and communicated the vehicle’s movements to deputies on the road. Deputies stopped the pursuit when the vehicle got off the highway at the Fruitville Road exit and turned off their emergency lights while the helicopter continued to track the vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office.

The pursuit lasted approximately seven minutes.

Deputies set out stop sticks at Honore Avenue and University Parkway, which the vehicle hit but kept going.

The vehicle stopped near mile marker 222 on I-75, where Grieco got out and took off, according to deputies, who had been following the vehicle from a distance. Video from the pursuit shows the driver, who deputies identify as Grieco, jumping over an overpass into a wooded area near the interstate before jumping a fence.

A K9 and the helicopter found Grieco, who was bitten by the K9 while being taken into custody.

Deputies said Grieco “resisted arrest with violence by activating kicking and flailing his arms in an attempt to the get the K9 off of him” and ignoring deputies’ commands. He was taken to a hospital to be medically cleared.

A woman in the passenger seat of the vehicle stayed inside the car when it stopped and was not hurt, according to the sheriff’s office.

Grieco was previously convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license and was charged accordingly, the sheriff’s office noted.

No deputies’ vehicles were damaged.

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