Crime

Sarasota deputies arrested a theft suspect. Catching him wasn’t easy, video shows

A Sarasota man is in trouble after he led a host of law enforcement officers on a chase across a busy stretch of Interstate 75 on Thursday afternoon.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says 30-year-old Joey Hoflock, a convicted felon with six outstanding warrants, caused havoc when a deputy attempted to take him into custody in the 2100 block of North Washington Boulevard around 3 p.m.

Hoflock managed to get away in his Toyota Camry and fled eastbound on University Parkway. Deputies say he refused to pull over even as he was pursued by marked vehicles with their emergency lights activated.

“Hoflock fled at a high rate of speed from deputies with top speeds passing 80 mph,” an arrest report said.

The pursuing officers attempted to immobilize Hoflock’s getaway vehicle, but the suspect used his car to slam into patrol vehicles, causing damage to two of them. Due to damage his vehicle had sustained, Hoflock slowed to a stop along North Cattlemen Road and fled eastbound on foot.

Aerial footage captured the moment as Hoflock ran across four lanes of traffic on I-75 to the center median. Oncoming traffic slowed as he made his way, but deputies were ready for him on the other side.

A deputy was able to catch up to Hoflock in the wooded median, but according to an arrest report, the suspect stood up again and tried to run away before deputies used a stun gun. Deputies, including a K9, surrounded him and he was taken into custody.

Investigators say Hoflock was wanted for repeatedly attempting to steal laptops and a gaming console from a local retailer. Hoflock has been convicted of grand theft five times and has served time in prison for similar crimes, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office says Hoflock faces a number of charges, including aggravated battery on a law enforcement office, fleeing to elude and two counts of resisting arrest. He is being held at the Sarasota County Jail without bond as the investigation continues.

More charges are pending, deputies say.

Ryan Callihan is the Bradenton Herald’s County Reporter, covering local government and politics. On the weekends, he also covers breaking news. Ryan is a graduate of USF St. Petersburg.
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