Troy man seized in all-day search

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The search for a Troy man in Florida ended late Tuesday, after an all-day pursuit from law enforcement officers.

Leigh Keyser Howard, 33, of Troy, has been arrested after he fled the scene of a traffic stop along Interstate 10 in Walton Co. Fla., said Walton County Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Mike Gurspan.

Howards, along with two other passengers, was stopped originally for reckless driving by an officer with the Department of Environmental Protection. During the stop, Howards ran into a heavily-wooded area off the Interstate wearing handcuff’s.

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The female occupant of the vehicle identified as Jessica Paramore, also of Troy, jumped into the driver’s side of the car while in handcuffs, and attempted to flee. A deputy with the Walton County Sheriff’s Department got Paramore out of the vehicle, and Paramore kicked the deputy in the jaw, Gurspan said.

The deputy was not severely injured, and Paramore was then taken to the Walton County Jail, where she is charged with resisting arrest, battery on a law enforcement officer, possession of meth, possession of paraphernalia and trafficking in lortiabs.

While the manhunt ensued for Howards, it is alleged the suspect stole a 2004 white GMC pickup truck from a residence. After fleeing from law enforcement and by passing spike strips, Howards was seized in Florida’s New Hope Community.

The chase ended when a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy laid spike strips that flattened two of the truck’s tires, but he still did not stop until he ran into the fence of a New Hope home.

He has been transported to the Chipley area hospital for observation and later taken to the Washington County Jail.

He faces charges of grand theft auto, fleeing and attempting to elude, criminal mischief and reckless driving from Walton County, Gurspan said.

In Washington County he is charged with fleeing and attempting to elude and criminal mischief.

The Department of Environmental Protection charges Howards with reckless driving, escape and petty theft.

The Florida Highway Patrol also assisted in the incident.