Brooksville man fled from Florida troopers, put in handcuffs with cigarette butt still in mouth

A Brooksville man driving with a suspended license tried to flee from troopers, but was caught and put in handcuffs – all while maintaining a firm hold of a cigarette in his mouth.

On Monday, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper was heading west on State Road 50 near Sunshine Grove Road in Hernando County. Just after 4:30 p.m., he noticed a vehicle, a black Nissan Maxima, speeding in the eastbound lanes. The trooper said the driver was traveling 71 mph in a 55 mph zone.

The driver, the trooper said, was also veering from the middle lane and into the inside lane, straddling the line on the road. Traffic in one lane had to quickly slow down. The trooper said he watched the driver veer back into the middle lane and into the outside lane.

The trooper activated his emergency lights in his marked FHP vehicle and the Nissan driver increased his speed, he said. He notified dispatchers he was in pursuit. The driver was later identified as 34-year-old Jason Ray Daoust.

During the pursuit, officials said one more trooper joined in to follow Daoust. They said Daoust drove through an intersection with a red light and was driving recklessly. Troopers said the speeds of the pursuit reached 120 mph.

Eventually, they entered Fullington Road where the trooper lined up his patrol car for a PIT maneuver. Dash cam video showed the Nissan spin onto a grassy area. Daoust quickly exited the driver seat of the vehicle and laid on the ground.

Guns were drawn by both troopers, with one shouting, “Let me see your hands!”

According to Daoust’s arrest report, he stated, “I’m suspended. That’s why I ran.” Troopers said his license was currently suspended. In fact, they said, it was suspended five times from August 2016 to October 2018. He pled guilty four times in the past for driving with a suspended license.

His female passenger was temporarily detained. She told troopers she purchased the vehicle but had no idea where the Florida tag came from. 

Daoust was arrested on several charges including driving an unregistered car, reckless driving, and a felony charge of driving without a license.