A man known as Pop Daddy led police on a high-speed chase from Tampa to St. Petersburg before being arrested on drug possession and fleeing and eluding charges. Artez Leon Hooker fled police on I-275 in Tampa in A BMW convertible driving so fast at times that the police helicopter tracking him couldn’t keep up with the car’s speed. Hooker was eventually found in St. Petersburg after abandoning his car.
According to police reports and a story on TampaBay.com, the chase began at 3:00 a.m. when Hooker was spotted running red lights on Tampa’s Armenia Avenue. Police then attempted to pull Hooker over in his 2004 BMW but he took off at speeds of 120 M.P.H. amid I-275 traffic. He eventually turned off his lights to avoid being caught, abandoned his car and hid in a staircase. The police helicopter was able to track Hooker and lead police on the ground to his location.
Hooker was arrested on felony fleeing and eluding charges and was then also hit with drug charges when police discovered marijuana in the backseat of the police car where Hooker was being held. Although he was not charged with DUI police noted in their arrest report that Hooker seemed to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.
Hooker has a long history of arrests according to TampaBay.com including charges of reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and cocaine possession. As a juvenile Hooker was arrested on numerous charges including robbery and also he was connected to the shooting of a man. Hooker allegedly shot a man three times after an altercation in which his bicycle was cut off. He was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to three years.