Man runs from troopers after flipping truck filled with drugs, guns during pursuit

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The Florida Highway Patrol is searching for a man they say led troopers on a chase on I-275 then near Gandy Boulevard Monday. FHP said the man, 35-year-old Eric Rodriguez, then fled on foot after flipping a truck filled with drugs and guns several times.

According to FHP, a trooper saw a Toyota Tacoma driving erratically on I-275 shortly before 7 a.m. on Monday and learned that there was a ‘be on the lookout’ for the vehicle because it was connected to battery and fleeing charges out of Orange County.

The trooper said she tried to pull the truck over, but the driver wouldn’t comply. The trooper said she chased the truck for a while with her lights and sirens on and eventually lost sight of it.

Shortly afterward, the trooper said she spotted the Tacoma, which appeared to have a flat rear right tire, in the area of Interstate 175 and began chasing it.

After pursuing the pickup onto Gandy Blvd. and 4th Street North, the trooper said she tried to stop it with a pit maneuver several times, but it kept going.

As the suspect fled closer to Pinellas Park, an area packed with drivers and pedestrians, the troopers said she became concerned for the safety of drivers and pedestrians. She tried one last PIT maneuver and it worked.

That’s when, according to FHP, the truck entered the grassy median and flipped over several times.

Though law enforcement officers surrounded the truck with guns drawn, Rodriguez got out of the truck through the front passenger door and ran away toward Royal Palm North Cemetery.

According to FHP, troopers found drugs, including nearly 100 pounds of THC gummies, marijuana, THC wax, 2 guns, a MacBook, $780 and other items.

Troopers said Rodriguez was last seen wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt, shorts and shoes.

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ThisIsButter1 (10203.00)

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