Date: August 27, 2004 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Michal Shanley, (863) 534-6631 OR (863) 819-0397 Pager

Polk County Sheriff's Office Conducts Death Investigation

Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives are conducting a death investigation following the
death last night of a 32-year-old Auburndale man.

Shortly before 10 p.m. last night (Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004), PCSO Deputy Jennifer Sanderson responded to a report of a man walking in the roadway of US 92, east of the intersection of Old Dixie Highway in the Auburndale area. According to multiple callers who reported the incident, the man appeared to be under the influence (of drugs or alcohol) and was creating a traffic hazard. Upon arrival on the scene, Deputy Sanderson located the suspect - later identified as Jason Yeagley, DOB 7/26/72, of 1320 Ashley Court in Auburndale - in the west-bound lanes of US 92. Fearing for his safety and the safety of motorists, Deputy Sanderson attempted to guide the man off the roadway.

The suspect, who was acting in a bizarre manner, refused to comply with Deputy Sanderson and physically attacked her as she was attempting to safely remove him from harm's way. The suspect's bizarre behavior escalated into a violent struggle with Deputy Sanderson, during which the suspect struck the deputy at least once, and also grabbed and threw away a pair handcuffs as Deputy Sanderson attempted to handcuff him. As the struggle continued and the suspect became more violent and aggressive, Deputy Sanderson deployed her Taser (less-than-lethal) weapon in an attempt to safely subdue the suspect. The Taser shock appeared to have little apparent effect, and the struggle continued.  Deputy Sanderson deployed her Taser a second time as the suspect continued to attack the deputy.

Just as back-up deputies arrived, Deputy Sanderson had managed to handcuff (with a second set of handcuffs) the suspect's hands in front of him. A few short moments later, deputies noted the suspect appeared to be going into some type of medical distress. Deputy Sanderson already had called for an ambulance at some point during the struggle, and the ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and the suspect was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he was declared dead.  An autopsy (scheduled for today) will determine the cause of death.


Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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