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Winter Haven Man Arrested For Damaging Property And Ramming PCSO Patrol Cars

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)-- On Sunday, August 22, 2021, PCSO detectives arrested 57-year-old Joseph O'Connor of Winter Haven following a neighborhood disturbance that lead to two deputies' patrol cars being rammed.

According to the preliminary investigation and witness statements, shortly before 2:00 p.m., O'Connor drove a white Dodge pick-up truck into the yard of a residence in the Schalamar Creek Golf and Country Club in unincorporated Lakeland, damaging the sprinkler system.

The homeowner called the Sheriff's Office.  When the first deputy arrived and attempted to make contact with the suspect, O'Connor sped away. With his emergency lights and sirens on, the deputy followed O'Connor and attempted to make another traffic stop. O'Connor stopped at the intersection of Alpine Circle and Armitage Place, but when the deputy approached his truck, he again fled.

Due to the area's residential and golf cart traffic, deputies stopped following O'Connor, and called additional units, including the agency's helicopter, to respond. O'Connor was located in his truck parked on Champion Drive.

Deputies maneuvered two marked patrol vehicles, one in front of the pick-up truck and one at the rear, to prevent O'Connor from fleeing again. O'Connor then tried to flee again by ramming the patrol vehicle in front of his truck and then backing into the one behind him.

When O'Connor realized he wasn't able to drive away, he yelled at the deputies, "Get the F*** out of here" and "Just F*** shoot me." While still sitting in his truck, O'Connor grabbed a hunting knife and threatened the deputies. He then dropped the knife in the floor of the truck and rammed the patrol vehicles again.

Deputies then used several less than lethal techniques (Taser, pepper spray, and bean bag rounds) to remove O'Connor from the pick-up truck. He was safely taken into custody.

"This was a dangerous situation that put the neighborhood and my deputies in jeopardy. I'm proud of my deputies for their quick action and for taking this fleeing felon into custody before he hurt or killed someone," said Grady Judd, Sheriff

O'Connor was arrested and charged with:
Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (2-counts) (F1)
Burglary of an Occupied Residence (F2)
Fleeing to Elude (2-counts) (F3)
Resisting a Law Enforcement Officer with Violence (11-counts) (F3)
Criminal Mischief (2-counts) (F3)
Resisting a Law Enforcement Officer without Violence (M1)
Trespassing with Larceny (M1)
Criminal Mischief (M2)
Failure to Obey a Lawful Order (M2)

O'Connor's criminal history includes three misdemeanor arrests for Battery, Domestic Violence Battery, and DUI.

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