TAMPA, Fla. - Back on September 20, 2011, Florida state trooper Michael Mattiza saw a speeding vehicle on Fladgate Mark Drive in Riverview and pulled the driver over. What happened minutes later nearly cost the trooper his life.
Hillsborough County prosecutor Marissa Rozas says the driver, Veronica Elder, dragged trooper Mattiza for nearly half a mile.
"The defendant rolled the window up while Lt. Mattiza’s arm was in the vehicle," Rozas told the court.
She said Elder didn't have a license and gave the trooper two false names. Rozas said Mattiza opened Elder's car door to get her out, but instead she hit the gas.
"Lt. Mattiza ordered the defendant to stop the vehicle and struck the defendant in the face, however, the defendant refused to stop the vehicle," said Rozas. "The vehicle accelerated approximately 45 miles per hour while dragging Lt. Mattiza by the arm...she attempted to swerve the vehicle towards two other oncoming vehicles, attempting to strike Lt. Mattiza with those vehicles."
Rozas told the court, "Lt. Mattiza was in fear for his life."
Trooper Mattiza escaped with minor injuries on his arms.
Two days later, detectives were able to track down Elder and arrest her.
Almost a decade later, Elder took a deal, pleading guilty to attempted murder of a law enforcement officer in exchange for 15 years in prison.
What began as a possible speeding ticket ended with a close call for a state trooper and Elder possibly serving more than a decade in jail.