Wild video shows driver runs red light before ramming trooper's patrol car, FHP says

The driver of a Chevrolet pickup blew through a red light at an intersection on U.S. Highway 441 in Mount Dora, Florida before driving onto the shoulder of the road and eventually ramming the patrol car of a trooper who was in pursuit, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Benton Wesley Smith, 54, was arrested and now faces a slew of charges including aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, and reckless driving.

A trooper was on Wolf Branch Road around 12:30 a.m. on Monday when he said he observed the driver of a pickup truck run a red light while traveling westbound on U.S. 441.  "Almost immediately after the pickup crossed all the way through the intersection, it appeared as though the driver ‘stabbed’ the throttle intentionally and the rear end of the pickup broke traction," the trooper wrote in a report. "The pickup began to spin and entered the northbound shoulder area of U.S. 441 just north of Wolf Branch Road. This area was an active construction zone with workers present in the surrounding area."

Suspecting the driver might be under influence of alcohol or controlled substances, the trooper began to pursue the pickup for a short distance with blue lights activated. The arrest report states the driver of the truck pulled into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven.  The trooper said the truck continued on, skidding and fishtailing during the pursuit.  At one point, the trooper said the driver of the truck spun around and accelerated towards his cruiser, causing a collision with the front of the patrol car. 

"At this point, I feared for my own safety, the safety of the construction workers I observed around the corner, the patrons of the two gas stations at the intersection, and the safety of the westbound traffic approaching me," the trooper wrote. "To protect the safety of all persons identified above, I used my patrol car to hit the pickup and push it off the road into a small culvert."

The driver, later identified as Smith, was directed to get out of the truck. "He put his hands up and made several statements to the effect of ‘shoot me,'" the trooper wrote.

Video of the incident was released to FOX 35 News by the Florida High Patrol.