Wrong-way driver leads deputies on chase

- It was a scary night for several drivers in Hillsborough County Tuesday, when a wrong-way driver led deputies on a chaotic chase down a major highway.

Deputies say it all started around 9:30 p.m., when they received three 911 calls about  a black pick-up truck that was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 301, just south of County Road 674.

A uniform patrol deputy in the area spotted the driver and began to follow alongside his truck – in the correct lane -with the lights and sirens activated to alert oncoming drivers.  But the truck refused to stop.

The sheriff’s office said they 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 then crossed back into oncoming traffic, and to deputies, it became clear he was not going to stop without being forced.

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

Deputies eventually had to use a PIT maneuver, which caused the truck to spin around and temporarily stop, but things didn’t quite end there.

As deputies tried to surround him, they say the driver slammed on the gas and rammed into one of their patrol vehicles in a last-ditch, and unsuccessful, effort to get away.

Officials identified the man behind the wheel as 20-year-old Derek Wayne Hyde, and arrested him for Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, Fleeing and Eluding, Reckless Driving and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

They’re investigating it as a possible DUI as well, but said Hyde refused a BAC and urine test.

A bag filled with an unknown “white, granular, powdery” substance from within his truck was also sent out for testing.

Additional charges are pending.

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