Tampa Bay Times
The Florida Highway Patrol has arrested a New Port Richey man who they say jumped on a woman’s hood while armed with a gun on Interstate 75 on Wednesday night, then tried to steal a tractor trailer whose driver had stopped to help.
The bizarre situation started about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday after troopers were called to the southbound lanes I-75 near the 234 mile post, which is near the Manatee County line.
Troopers said Dale Patrick Ferris, 43, had stopped on the interstate for reasons they still don’t understand. The vehicle he was in, a black 2018 GMC Sierra, did not have its lights on.
Soon after, a 2019 Subaru sport utility vehicle driven by a 33-year-old woman from Wellington hit the Sierra.
Ferris then walked into the path of a 2020 Hyundai SUV, which was driven by a 42-year-old woman from Cape Coral. She stopped the SUV so she wouldn’t hit Ferris.
Ferris then pulled out a handgun and climbed on the Hyundai’s hood. A passing vehicle distracted Ferris and the driver of the Hyundai was able to “speed away successfully,” troopers said in a news release.
Moments later, the driver of a tractor trailer, a 62-year-old man from North Fort Myers, stopped and got out of his vehicle to help with the situation. Ferris climbed into the semi and tried to steal it, but was unable to get it going because he couldn’t place it in gear or release the air brakes, troopers said.
The man who had been driving the semi and another witness, a 38-year-old man from South Dakota, tried to stop Ferris, but he kicked both men in the face and chest. Ferris got out of the semi and deputies from both the Hillsborough and Manatee county sheriff’s offices detained him, troopers reported.
Ferris was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking, armed carjacking, improper exhibition of a firearm and discharging a firearm in public.
Troopers said that at some point during the ordeal, Ferris fired shots into the roadway. Several spent shell casings and the handgun were recovered, troopers said.
He was being held at the Hillsborough County jail without bail on Thursday, records show.