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September 24, 2003
CONTACT: Joy Hill (352) 732-1225

A Clermont man found himself in a world of trouble early Saturday after he tried to run over a law enforcement officer who suspected the man of trying to kill a deer at night. After an early morning chase through south Lake County, and with the aid of an airplane and K9, officers caught up with the suspect, Darrell Dwayne Judy, 31, who was by then at home, in his bed, pretending to be asleep.

All told, Judy, (DOB 10-7-71), of 6236 Oil Well Road, is facing six felony and four misdemeanor charges after the ordeal that began just before 1 a.m., Saturday and finally ended several hours later.

It all started late Friday when Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers were working a detail involving air support assisting officers on the ground to detect poachers using spotlights to take deer at night.

At about 12:48 a.m., FWC Officer Monty Hinkle, acting as spotter in an FWC airplane, radioed Officer Rick Staton that someone was working a spotlight just off County Road 474 in Lake County near the Polk and Orange county lines. Staton was about two miles from the suspect vehicle, but was familiar with the area and headed that way. Hinkle advised him that the spot lighter turned the light off every time a car approached on CR 474.

When Staton arrived at the location, he saw a pickup truck sitting in a driveway off the highway. When the operator of the truck, later identified as Judy, saw Statonís patrol vehicle, he spun the truck around, sped up and headed straight toward Staton, who had to swerve to avoid a head-on collision.

As Judy sped off into the night with Staton in pursuit, Hinkle in the airplane kept him apprised of the suspectís location.  When Staton reached the pickup truck, it was stuck in a small ditch with the driverís side door open and the suspect gone. A box of .270 caliber rifle shells was on the seat and a spotlight was on the floor.

Staton called for backup, and FWC Officer Mark Bishard and Lake County K9 Deputy Chris Huskey and his dog arrived to assist. The K9 team got right to work and tracked the suspect to Judyís home, where officers found the suspect in his bed, sweating profusely and pretending to be asleep.

As officers searched the home they found approximately 20 guns, but not the .270 caliber rifle they were looking for.

Enter FWC Officer Laird Canfield and his K-9 partner, Harley. Canfield and Harley are recent graduates of the FWCís K9 program, and Harley has been specially trained to find guns.

Canfield took Harley to where Judyís truck was stuck in the ditch, and the dog went immediately to work. Within minutes he located the .270 caliber rifle, a semi-automatic pistol and a fanny pack that contained marijuana, amphetamines and assorted drug paraphernalia, in a palmetto patch about 20 yards from the truck.

Judy was booked into Lake County Jail on $27,500 bond. He was charged with:

bulletTake/attempt to take deer at night by gun and light (1st degree misdemeanor)
bulletAggravated assault with a vehicle on a law enforcement officer (2nd degree felony)
bulletFelony trespassing with a firearm (3rd degree felony)
bulletPossession of cannabis, over 20 grams (3rd degree felony)
bulletPossession of amphetamine, 25 grams (3rd degree felony)
bulletFleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer (2nd degree felony)
bulletPossession of drug paraphernalia, 3 counts (1st degree misdemeanor)
bulletPossession of firearm by convicted felon (2nd degree felony)





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