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Man charged after high-speed chase, crash in Brooksville, police say

BROOKSVILLE — Joseph Villarrubia’s life isn’t going to get easier any time soon.

After Brooksville Police say he led them on a high-speed chase Wednesday evening, running a stoplight at a busy intersection, ramming a marked police vehicle with his silver Mercedes and punching a K-9 officer, Villarrubia had an excuse.

He told arresting officers that he was having difficulties with his life and had argued with his girlfriend, the Brooksville Police Department said.

“He had a high-performance Mercedes and said, ‘You know what, I want to see if I can beat that American police car,’ ” Brooksville Police Chief George Turner said.

Villarrubia, 26, of 5096 Chamber Court, Spring Hill, was driving at the speed limit before he decided to gun it while driving north on Broad Street around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday, Turner said.

“He whipped into the middle lane, took off and got up to 110, according to (Villarrubia),” Turner said. “We didn’t even try to stop him, per policy. We followed.”

Villarrubia swerved in and out of traffic before running a red light at Cortez Boulevard and Broad Street, a police report said.

He eventually struck a parked car at Main Street and Broad, according to the report.

“That tore the right side of his car off,” Turner said. “But the car was still running, so he kept driving.”

Villarrubia put the Mercedes in reverse and began driving in the wrong direction on Broad, running vehicles off of the road and driving on the sidewalk, Turner said.

Villarrubia finally ran into a stopped Brooksville Police car driven by Officer Meredith Blackman, who was flown to a trauma center a few weeks ago after her patrol vehicle was rear-ended by a Ford F-150 pickup on Broad Street.

Turner said that Blackman was not seriously injured, but that her vehicle was totaled by Villarrubia’s.

A police report says that Villarrubia then exited his car and ran, but was eventually apprehended by K-9 Officer Titan and other officers. Before his arrest, Villarrubia punched the dog and tried to strike Titan’s handler.

He was later treated for a dog bite before being taken to the Hernando County Jail.

“He fought with three officers before he gave up,” Turner said. “After he was arrested and calmed down a little bit, he told us that he was just mad at the world, and that he had an argument with his girlfriend.

“He had total disregard for everybody else. There was no real rhyme or reason to it.”

Turner said that Villarrubia did not smell of alcohol, but that his blood will be tested for drugs.

“Thank God he didn’t kill somebody,” Turner said.

Villarrubia, who does not have a criminal history in Hernando County, was being held at the jail on Thursday with bail set at 27,500, sheriff’s records show.

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