WINDERMERE -- Dave Ogden, chief of the Windermere Police Department, released a statement describing an early-morning assault on Officer Robbie Harrison that began a pursuit of the suspected assailant July 6.
At about 3:45 a.m., Harrison initiated a traffic stop on a car speeding at 46 mph through a 30 mph zone, starting on Sixth Street. Harrison noticed a strong marijuana odor coming from the vehicle and called for backup.
Officer Eliezer Rodriguez responded, arriving at Chase Road and Isleworth Country Club Drive, where the suspect's car was. Harrison told Rodriguez he was going to ask the suspect, Tyrone Fitz-Dane Jr., to exit the car before a vehicle search.
"When Officer Harrison returned to the suspect’s vehicle, the driver was sitting with one foot out of the car," Ogden said. "Officer Harrison asked the driver to step out of the vehicle and inquired about the cannabis smell. The driver slid back into his seat, grabbed the gear shifter and attempted to close the door on Officer Harrison. Officer Harrison grabbed the driver and ordered him out of the vehicle. The driver turned the steering wheel to the car, revved the engine, shifted the car into gear and drove off with Officer Harrison still in the doorway and struggling with the subject. The driver’s vehicle struck Officer Harrison, spinning him off the car and running over his right foot as he fled the scene."
Harrison and Rodriguez pursued Fitz-Dane southwest on Chase Road at a high speed with sirens and lights active.
"The vehicle traffic was light, road conditions were good and Officer Harrison maintained communication control during the pursuit," Ogden said.
Fitz-Dane turned left onto southbound Winter Garden-Vineland Road (County Road 535), speeding at what Harrison estimated as 70 mph. When he reached Buena Vista Drive, stop sticks from Orange County Sheriff's Office successfully deflated his tires, but he continued to the Interstate 4 eastbound ramp, ultimately stopping at the center median.
Ogden said the pursuit ended between the Lake Buena Vista and SeaWorld exits, with the vehicle rolling to a stop with its front tire blown.
"Inside the vehicle was a Glock 19 semi-auto handgun, 130 grams of cannabis in the trunk and a smaller amount of cannabis in the front of the vehicle," Ogden said. "The driver, Tyrone Fitz-Dane Jr., was arrested and booked in the Orange County Jail for the following charges: aggravated battery on a police officer, resisting a police officer with violence, resisting a police officer without violence, possession of cannabis – felony amount, possession of a firearm in commission of a felony and felony fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer."
Dr. P. Phillips Hospital staff treated and released Harrison with minor leg injuries. He will be on light duty until further notice, Ogden said.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].