TAMPA — A man who fled the area last month with his wife and two children to avoid a vehicular homicide trial was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Texas, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
Garrett Bruce was arrested at Camping World in Katy, Texas, by the U.S. Marshals Service. He was booked at the Fort Green Sheriff’s Office in Texas.
Bruce, his wife, Jennifer Bruce, and their two sons, Brett, 5, and Dillon, 7, had been staying at Camp World for two days. Bruce was getting a fifth-wheel travel trailer repaired when he was arrested at around 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the sheriff’s office said.
“Garrett Bruce told the marshals service they had no plans or location in mind,” said Melanie Snow, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman. “(They were) just trying to get away from Florida.”
Bruce, 33, had altered his appearance by shaving his head. He was found in good condition. His wife and children were also fine.
Jennifer Bruce was aware of the plans to leave Florida, but she’s not facing charges at this time, Snow said. The children weren’t aware about what was going on., They thought they were on vacation, Snow said.
At a later date, Bruce will be extradited back to Florida, where he faces a trial in Pinellas County on charges of vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter in a 2011 crash in Tarpon Springs. He’ll face additional charges from fleeing the area and the scheduled trial, but he hasn’t been formally charged with the new charges, Snow said.
Jennifer Bruce will have to make arrangements on her own to return to Florida with her two children, Snow said.
The New Port Richey family fled the area last month. The children had been withdrawn from Longleaf Elementary on Jan. 10. Jennifer Bruce wrote a note to the school saying the family was relocating, the sheriff’s office said.
Bruce removed an ankle bracelet and didn’t attend a pre-trial conference on January 27, a week before the trial.
The traffic crash occurred in Tarpon Springs when Bruce was a manager at a Papa John’s. He had closed Papa John’s with two employees, Elliot Lewis and Patrick Vosbein.
Bruce was driving a 2011 Dodge Charger with Lewis as the front passenger and both wearing seat belts. Vosbein was in the back seat and not wearing a seat belt.
As Bruce tried to manage a curve, he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a concrete utility pole about a half-mile west of the Meres Boulevard and Carolina Avenue intersection.
Vosbein’s body flew through the windshield and landed on the hood. He was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson where he died three days after the crash.
Several beer cans were found inside the Charger. A blood test showed Bruce’s alcohol level was 0.103. A driver is presumed intoxicated at 0.08 or higher.
An accident reconstruction expert estimated that the Charger was traveling at more than 100 mph before the curve and 70 mph when it hit the utility pole.