A traffic stop quickly turned into an on-foot police chase during the night of Easter Sunday after Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies had to pursue a fleeing suspect through the woods of Walden Lake.
While many families were gathered for an Easter dinner HCSO deputies pulled over a blue Chevrolet Sedan at approximately 6:56 p.m. for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign on Turkey Creek Road, according to the HCSO report. The deputy turned on his emergency lights, pulled behind the vehicle and then watched as Dylan Horne, 21, hopped out of the passenger seat and began to run eastbound down Griffin Boulevard.
The deputy, who was in full uniform, yelled at Horne, “Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, stop running,” according to the report. Horne refused to comply and soon was out of sight. As Horne wove though the streets of Walden Lake several families noticed his unusual behavior. When HCSO arrived hot on his tail, many came out of their homes to watch the commotion.
Approximately 20 minutes after fleeing the Chevy, Horne was found by deputies hiding in the tall vegetation north of Griffin Boulevard by a small pond on the abandoned golf course. He was immediately taken into custody. HCSO said they found a white cigarette pack which contained a green leafy substance. It was tested and revealed to be marijuana.
Horne was charged with First Degree Petit Theft, Possession of Cannabis (less than 20 grams) and Resisting an Officer without Violence. However, his game of hide-and-seek quickly became more complicated.
“The subject ran from the traffic stop and threw what we believe to be a backpack into a pond,” Corporal Donald Cagnina, a member of the HCSO dive team, said. “He’s going to jail and we’re going to try to locate that bookbag.”
Prior to the dive team’s arrival a deputy at the scene waded into the murky pond, using a neighbor’s rake to attempt to fish out the bag from the area they believed it to have sunk in. In a matter of minutes he was soaked and the bag was nowhere in sight.
Horne had been successfully located, but the bag had not. Soon other members of the dive team were on site and though the sun had set they suited up and began to comb every inch of the pond.
Using the beams from the headlights of their vehicles they created a pseudo-spotlight on the water as the divers worked with practically nonexistent visibility. Tall, thick grass coated the bottom of the pond and while the divers were able to locate dozens of golf balls the book bag never turned up.
At approximately 11 p.m., after hours of dedicated searching, they called it a night. At 8 a.m. the next morning they suited up and headed back into the water. This time the visibility was much clearer and they had high hopes they’d quickly locate the black bag.
While one diver walked along the edge of the thick grass in the shallow end of the pond he held a line that another diver further out was connected to. The deputies at the scene were back in the woods they had found Horne crouched in the night before, double checking the foliage to make sure the bag wasn’t hidden among the brush.
Slowly the diver combed over inch after inch of the pond’s floor. As he was headed back toward the shoreline the dive team member walking along the edge suddenly came to a stop. His foot had struck an object hidden in the grass. At first he moved it around to determine if it was a log or a stick, but he quickly realized he was standing on top of the discarded bag. Bending down he carefully pulled it from the water shouting out, “I found it.”
He carried the soaking backpack over to the golf path and begin to carefully examine its contents. A gun was pulled out of the bag as were numerous bullets. A bag filled with a white substance was also removed along with a bong and syringe.
Horne appeared before a Hillsborough County Judge on Wednesday. The details of that hearing were not available at press time.