Man Leads Authorities on Chase Through East Manatee

The 21-year-old suspect is accused of stealing a car and crashing it into a house after breaking into a garage and rummaging through a vehicle.

A 21-year-old man led police on a chase that included a Hillsborough County helicopter early today after he broke into two garages, stole a car, crashed into a house and ran into the woods.

Billy Donahue was eventually found hiding under a trailer and was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, auto theft and burglary of an occupied dwelling. He is being held on $17,500 bond.

Shortly before 7 a.m. on Monday Cindy Jackson, who lives in Mill Creek, spotted a man in a gray hooded jacket in her garage and riffling through her car. She yelled at hom to get out of her garage and that she was calling the police, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's report.

When he yelled back "Go ahead and call them," Jackson locked herself inside the home with her daughter. Deputies responded to her call and as the searched the area, they got a second call for a burglary in progress in Country Creek.

In Country Creek Stephen Odoardi, found a man, suspected to be Donahue, wearing a grey hooded sweat shirt inside his garage.  When Donahue jumped into a dark-colored, 4-door vehicle, Odoardi tried to grab the car keys and pull Donahue out of the car. 

Donahue drove off dragging Odoardi a short distance. The vehicle headed south on Country Meadows Way where Donahue failed to negotiate the curb and ran into the back of the residence at 14705 2 Ave Cir N.E., according to the sheriff's report.

The resident, Richard Jackson, saw the suspect, believed to be Donahue, outside the car and then saw him running into the woods west of Jackson's house.  Deputies set up a new perimeter and called out the K-9 unit.  In the meantime, two deputies saw the suspect fitting the description on Upper Manatee River Road. The deputies chased Donahue on foot. They lost sight of him in the woods just south of the road. 

An even tighter perimeter was set until K-9 arrived.  An air unit was called out from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office because there were problems with Manatee County's aircraft. By then, the perimeter had been moved to Christian Retreat where someone had called in to the sheriff's department saying they saw a man hiding in some bushes. 

At 9:25 a.m. Donahue, was located under a mobile home and arrested. He was taken to the emergency room at Lakewood Ranch medical center to be evaluated and then taken to jail. 

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. FHP charged Donahue with hit and run and property damage.


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