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Groveland man found in attic after ramming Sumter sheriff’s deputy’s patrol vehicle

A Groveland man is behind bars after ramming a stolen SUV into a Sumter County sheriff deputy’s patrol vehicle early Tuesday morning.

Joseph Anthony Dale Crawford, 20, was arrested early Tuesday morning after intentionally ramming a stolen SUV into a Sumter County sheriff’s deputy’s patrol vehicle in the parking lot of the Circle K at 2986 SR 50.

The deputy had been patrolling just after midnight in the area of State Road 50 and State Road 471 when he spotted an occupied Nissan utility vehicle that had been reported stolen in the parking lot of the Circle K at 2986 SR 50. The deputy pulled in behind the SUV and the driver, later identified as 20-year-old Joseph Anthony Dale Crawford, put the vehicle in reverse and intentionally crashed into the deputy’s marked patrol vehicle, a sheriff’s office report states.

The deputy was able to use his damaged vehicle to prevent Crawford from maneuvering the SUV out of the parking lot and causing a high-speed chase. Crawford then exited the vehicle on the passenger side and fled the area on foot. Responding patrol deputies set up a perimeter and started a K-9 track, the report says.

While actively searching for Crawford, the Sumter County Communication Center received a tip that he had been spotted just south of the Circle K. Several members of the sheriff’s office’s patrol and criminal investigations division then converged on the area, the report says.

Crawford was attempting to hide in an acquaintance’s house, who didn’t know that that he was wanted by law enforcement. Once they learned that he was being sought by deputies, they cooperated and lead them into the residence. A short time later, Crawford was found hiding in the attic and was taken into custody without further incident.

Crawford was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, grand theft of a motor vehicle and petit theft. He was booked into the Sumter County Detention Center and was being held on $11,000 bond.
Crawford also holds an active warrant out of Lake County for kidnapping and tampering with a witness. He is being held on detainer for the warrant.

The Nissan was reported stolen out of Osceola County and detectives are coordinating with law enforcement in both Lake and Osceola counties to see if Crawford might have been involved in any other crimes.

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