Man drags Leesburg cop, leads officers on two-county chase

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LEESBURG, Fla. - Investigators arrested a man they said dragged a Leesburg police officer with his car before leading law enforcement on a chase across two counties.

From jail, suspect David Housmer described to Channel 9 everything he did to try and escape.

“Without thinking, I just took off,” said Housmer. “I didn’t want to go to jail.”

Investigators said Housmer basically drove in an 80-mile circle that started with a traffic stop in Leesburg near the intersection of US-27 and Sumter Street.

Officers said Housmer had a suspended license and a K-9 smelled drugs, but police said the suspect hit the gas with the cop hanging on.

“The officer was dragged a few feet.  He had to basically run with the car in order to free himself from the car a little bit,” said Capt. Rob Hicks of the Leesburg Police Department. “And then the chase was on from there."

But the chase continued across Marion County with deputies in pursuit.

“There were so many lights behind me I couldn’t tell what car was what,” said Housmer. “All I saw was lights, and I just kept going."

The chase ended back in Lake County when Housmer ran over stop sticks on County Road 25 and rolled his  truck several times.

Fortunately, the officer that was dragged wasn’t badly hurt, officials said.  The officer even said he didn’t know there were drugs in the vehicle or that Housmer was driving on a suspended license at the time. He said he pulled him over because a taillight was out.

“There are numerous cases across the country where a very minor traffic incident led to arrests and massive quantities of narcotics or murder suspects,” said Hicks.

Housmer said he wishes he would have made a different choice.

“Stop,” he said. “If I have to go to jail, it’s better than running and being stupid and trying to kill somebody."

No drugs were found in the vehicle.

A woman in the truck with Housmer, who he said was his wife, remains hospitalized.

Housmer faces several charges, including the aggravated battery of a police officer.