Florida man rams cruiser, guns for K-9, breaks into mayor’s home, police say

HAINES CITY, Fla. — An Osceola County man tried to run over a police dog and its handler early Monday morning, before breaking into the home of the Haines City mayor and forcing a standoff, Florida authorities confirmed.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Matthew Swett, 31, is facing charges of armed burglary, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, use of a deadly weapon on a police K-9, fleeing to elude, leaving the scene of a crash, criminal mischief, driving on a suspended license, resisting arrest without violence, driving an unregistered vehicle and possession of the narcotic Buprenorphine.

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Meanwhile, Swett’s passenger, 32-year-old Kaila Ellig, is facing charges of burglary of an occupied structure and resisting arrest without violence.

Swett reportedly jumped into his blue 2003 Toyota and drove directly at Haines City Police Officer William Tucker, who had spotted Swett loitering on a construction site at around 2 a.m., WTSP reported.

According to a news release, Swett struck Tucker’s cruiser, in which the officer was sitting with emergency lights engaged, head on and drove away.

A short while later, K-9 Officer Joseph Elam and his partner Cash pursued Swett’s vehicle briefly before he crashed it into a ditch. Elam then deployed Cash and began giving orders, the news release stated.

“The commands were ignored, and Swett put the vehicle in reverse and intentionally drove toward the two, striking Cash,” a Haines City spokesperson wrote in an email to WTSP. “Officer Elam, seeing what was about to happen, used the leash to pull Cash away from the accelerating vehicle into his arms, and ran, with Cash in his arms, to avoid being run over. Thanks to his quick action, K-9 Cash was not injured.”

Swett, who fled for the third time, crashed his vehicle again, before he and Ellig, 32, left the car and ran into the woods before the vehicle caught fire, the Times reported.

According to officers, the pair then climbed a fence and cut a hole to access the screened-in back porch of Haines City Mayor Morris West’s home and refused officers’ commands to exit, the newspaper reported.

Cash was deployed again and bit Swett in the leg, allowing officers to subdue and arrest him. They also found a knife and prescription drugs in his possession, according to police.

“Ellig cooperated and was arrested without further incident,” the news release stated.

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