LAKE COUNTY — On Sunday evening Marion County Sheriff’s deputy Christopher Witte responded a call regarding a suspicious vehicle at Circle K on SE Hwy 25.
The store clerk reported that the man in the car appeared to be unresponsive and had been in the vehicle for 30-45 minutes.
Sheriff’s Office video shows the man appeared disoriented and without I.D. when Witte approached the vehicle, gave the deputy a false name and claimed he did not remember his middle name or initial.
During this questioning the man abruptly started his car and pulled out of the Circle K parking lot, striking Officer Witte who was standing at the open driver’s door.
Witte immediately engaged in pursuit of the vehicle but lost it as it reached high speeds with lights turned off.
The pursuit entered Lake County, where Lake County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop.
During the traffic stop, the driver abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot into his Leesburg home.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit located and arrested the man, identified as Joe Toolie III.
Witte positively identified Toolie to complete the investigation.
Deputy Witte was hit by the driver’s door during the altercation but was not injured.