Road rage suspect leads deputies on chase through Citrus, Hernando counties

A Winter Haven man has been arrested following a wild Sunday night ride through Citrus and Hernando counties.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office says that shortly after 7 p.m. on Sunday, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO)  and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) took 23-year-old Charles Austin Alec Jewell of Winter Haven into custody following that vehicle pursuit.

Jewell led Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies on an extensive chase throughout the area of Inverness and Floral City, the CCSO said.

“We are very fortunate that everyone involved in this pursuit is safe and unharmed,” said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “When there is a suspect who is not only willing to evade law enforcement but displays aggressive behavior as Jewell did, we face a serious threat to our community.”

Around 6:40 p.m., the CCSO dispatch center received a phone call about a road rage incident in which the caller reported that a suspect driver fired a gun during the encounter.  Responding deputies were able to locate the suspect vehicle, from the description, at a gas station off U.S. 41(South Florida Avenue) and East Gobbler Drive in Floral City.

After making contact with the vehicle’s driver, deputies identified 23-year-old Charles Austin Alec Jewell as the suspect in the road rage incident and learned he has wanted out of Polk County.  Citrus County deputies asked to step out of the vehicle, but Jewell placed the car in reverse, nearly striking one deputy, in an attempt to elude law enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies pursued Jewell through the Inverness and Floral City, taking steps to safely demobilize the vehicle. Eventually, the front tires on the vehicle began to break apart as the chase continued into Floral City on Trails End Road.

The FHP joined in the pursuit, ultimately performing a P.I.T. maneuver and stopping the vehicle. Jewell was taken into custody by CCSO deputies and FHP without further incident. FHP charged him with fleeing and eluding.

Jewell will be arrested on local charges for aggravated assault with a firearm and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

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