3 Tenn. burglary suspects arrested after fleeing Fla. trooper

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - Three people fleeing Knoxville, Tenn., in connection with a burglary spree were arrested Thursday morning in Columbia County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Heath Sanchez, 29, Lynette Lee, 20, and Mathew Ladd, 24, are all facing charges.

According to FHP, Trooper James Taylor was trying to stop a red Chrysler soutbound on Interstate 75 just south of Sister's Welcome Road just before 11 a.m.

Sanchez, the driver of the Chrysler, swerved into Taylor's lane, nearly striking his marked unit, according to an FHP report. Taylor initiated a traffic stop, but Sanchez failed to stop, according to the report.

Sanchez exited onto State Road 47 at a high speed and lost control, troopers said. The vehicle struck a stop sign then traveled across the westbound lanes, raised median and eastbound lanes prior to coming to final rest on the south shoulder.

Sanchez got out of the car and fled on foot, troopers said. They said Taylor caught him as he was trying to climb over a fence next to a Little Caesar's Pizza.

Taylor stunned Sanchez with a Taser and was able to place him into custody without further incident, troopers said.

Troopers Mark Birchard and Walter Smith arrived as back up and secured the two passengers.

Investigators said the car was reported stolen on Wednesday from Knoxville, and after conferring with the Knoxville Police Department, investigators said it was revealed that the trio was believed to have been involved in several commercial burglaries in Tennessee.

Numerous items found inside the vehicle, such as electronic equipment, were placed into evidence as being possibly linked to the crimes, troopers said.

Ladd had an active warrant for his arrest from Tennessee for burglary including a $100,000 bond.

All three suspects were charged with grand theft, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of stolen property. Sanchez was also charged with multiple traffic infractions, including driving while license suspended or revoked, aggravated fleeing and eluding, reckless driving and DUI.

All three are being held at the Columbia County jail without bail.

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