Hwy. 301 wrong-way driver has 7 previous arrests

- Hyde refused to stop.

The sheriff's office said deputies had to call on every other deputy in the area to get southbound drivers off the road and out of the suspect's path.

The Aviation Section was also deployed to the area.

In the meantime, the truck continued barreling in the wrong direction up U.S. 301 before deputies say the driver ran a red light at Big Bend Road, crossed a median at County Road 672 and started throwing things out of his window.

"He was hell-bent on continuing on and we knew he was a disaster waiting to happen," said Det. Larry McKinnon, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office.

A wrong-way driver is facing several charges Wednesday after leading Hillsborough County deputies on a chaotic chase down a major highway.

Deputies say it all started around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday when they received three calls to 911 about a black pick-up truck traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 301, just south of Sun City Center Boulevard.
A deputy in the area spotted the driver, later identified by deputies as 20-year-old Derek Hyde, and began to follow alongside his truck - in the correct lane - with the lights and sirens activated to alert oncoming drivers. 

Investigators said Hyde crossed back into oncoming traffic, heading the wrong way - again - down 301.

Crews tried deploying stop sticks, but said only the truck's right tire blew out, and the driver just kept going.

After a 10-mile pursuit, deputies had to use a PIT maneuver, which caused the truck to spin around and temporarily stop, but things didn't quite end there.

"He literally began backing and going forward and ramming the four patrol vehicles that had stopped him," McKinnon said.

Hyde eventually gave up and was arrested for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Several neighbors couldn't believe what they saw.

"It's scary because there's only a fence that divides us from basically the road," said Stacy White, who lives near where Hyde was finally arrested. "He wants to go and do something stupid? Then let him go do something stupid somewhere else. Don't do it on our highways where he could have killed somebody - not just himself - but he could have killed somebody else or an innocent family."

Detectives said they found a bag filled with an unknown "white, granular, powdery" substance, along with other drug-related items, in the truck.

This is Hyde's eighth arrest since 2011. His seven previous arrests include several charges of grand theft, battery and assault with a deadly weapon.

McKinnon said this is being investigated as a possible DUI as well; Hyde refused sobriety tests.

Additional charges are pending.

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