Date: November 02, 2003 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856, Pager

Deputy Hit by Car Driven By Suspect Fleeing To Elude

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation today into the attempted murder of a deputy after a short vehicle pursuit ended in the suspect attempting to run over the deputy.

Southwest District patrol deputy John McKee first noticed the suspect driving south on Combee Road in Lakeland around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday evening, November 1, 2003, driving a tan Lincoln with an unassigned tag. When D/S McKee attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver instead fled, going south on Combee, then turned east onto Ellis Avenue, then east on Maine Avenue. Neither the suspect nor deputy exceeded 40 MPH during the pursuit.

The driver, later identified as Anthony Lee Hillis, DOB 2/28/75, of 515 David Street in Lakeland, proceeded through one set of stopsticks deployed by assisting deputies in the area, but did not stop or slow. When Hollis saw another deputy setting up another set of stopsticks on Maine Avenue, at the corner of Maine and Reynolds, he aimed his vehicle right at the deputy and hit him, causing him to roll over the hood of the vehicle.  28-year-old Deputy Sheriff David Bell, who has been with the agency just over one year, suffered multiple non-life threatening injuries, including a broken leg. He was transported to LRMC, where he remains in treatment.

Hillis was apprehended soon after the vehicle crash, and has so far been charged with 1 count of Fleeing to Elude, and 1 count of Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer.

Hillis has 15 prior arrests, dating back 10 years, including charges such as: Battery, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Aggravated Assault, Kidnapping, Grand Theft Auto, Fleeing to Elude, Driving While License Suspended/Revoked, Reckless Driving, Possession of Marijuana, and arrests for out-of-county warrants. The investigation is ongoing.

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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