Man Arrested for Ramming Trooper’s Car, Driving Recklessly in Mount Dora Construction Zone

MOUNT DORA, Florida—An Ocoee man is being held in the Lake County Jail on $37,000 bond for several charges after allegedly driving recklessly through a construction zone, fleeing a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and ramming the trooper’s car, according to an arrest affidavit.

Around 10: 30 p.m. Sunday, a trooper was on Wolfbranch Road approaching U.S. Highway 441 when he spotted a Chevrolet pickup truck run the northbound red light on U.S. Highway 441.

“It appeared as though the driver (later identified as Benton Wesley Smith) ‘stabbed’ the throttle intentionally and the rear end of the pickup broke traction,” the arresting trooped stated in the affidavit. The truck began to spin and entered the shoulder, where construction workers were present, of U.S. Highway 441 just north of Wolfbranch Road.

The trooped activated his emergency lights and the truck skidded into the parking lot of 7-Eleven at the corner of U.S. Highway 441 and Wolfbranch Road and the trooper pulled in behind Smith. Smith floored the accelerator, fishtailed and entered Wolfbranch Road with FHP in pursuit.

Smith, 54, “stabbed” the throttle again, according to the affidavit, and it caused the truck to turn counterclockwise and become “nose-to-nose” with the trooper’s car. Smith accelerated and struck the trooper’s car and backed up and attempted to drive away again. The trooper then used his car to strike the truck and push it into a culvert.

The trooper “challenged the driver at gunpoint,” and Smith put his hands up and said several things to the effect of “shoot me,” the affidavit states. Smith resisted as FHP walked him to a patrol car and failed to get onto the back seat; he told the arresting trooper he would, “shoot (him) in the head, right between (his) eyes,” the affidavit states.

Smith was arrested for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, threats against a public servant, reckless driving and resisting an officer without violence.

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