CITRUS COUNTY, FL. – Shortly after 1:30 p.m. today, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of W. Venable Street and 7 Rivers Dr. in Crystal River.
Deputies observed the gold in color Dodge pickup truck with a Tennessee tag, both of which were confirmed to be stolen.
However, when deputies attempted the traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as 39-year-old Michael James Dailey of Lecanto, did not stop and led officials on a slow-speed vehicle pursuit. Throughout the pursuit, Dailey briefly stopped the vehicle numerous times and took off after each stop.
Deputies say that during one of his shortstops, the other passenger of the vehicle, identified as 61-year-old Betty Joan Hall of Lecanto, was able to safely exit. As deputies secured Hall, she indicated that Dailey was high on methamphetamine and had a firearm in the truck.
As the pursuit continued, Dailey attempted to strike several deputy vehicles and at one point, successfully rammed one deputy’s patrol car head-on. The pursuit, which lasted roughly 45 minutes, ended in the business plaza of Meadowcrest when deputies deployed stop sticks deflating the tires.
In his last act to elude law enforcement, Dailey attempted to drive over a rock embankment but was unsuccessful and immobilized the vehicle.
Dailey then refused deputies’ commands to exit the vehicle and claimed to have a firearm while making erratic movements within the vehicle. In response, officials contained the area, shutting down the entranceway into the Meadowcrest plaza and activated the CCSO’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) to respond out.
After a 45-minute negotiation period, members of CCSO’s SWAT deployed a flash-bang with little effect and eventually fired two less-lethal gas rounds into the vehicle. Dailey subsequently surrendered without further incident and was arrested.
Dailey is being charged with aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resist officer without violence, aggravated flee/elude law enforcement from the scene of a crash with damage, theft of a vehicle, and driving while license suspended or revoked.
Dailey’s passenger, Hall was also arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
“Dailey showed a blatant disregard for law enforcement today,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “His actions put our deputies’ lives in jeopardy and that of our citizens. Our office is thankful that we were able to apprehend Dailey without further incident and that everyone on our team will be returning home safely this Easter.”