Grandmother helps cops nab driver

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

A Wakulla Springs man charged with drunken driving is learning the hard way that one should not mess with a grandmother from Old Town.

He's also learning that head-butting a Chiefland police officer is not a good idea either. It can get one lightly tased — twice — and charged with resisting an officer with violence.

Donald Waldo Patterson Jr., 49, of Wakulla Springs, is also charged with resisting an officer without violence, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and refusing to sign a citation. He was still in the Levy County Jail on Tuesday and bail was set at $22,500.

Patterson's trip through the Levy County legal system started when a caller contacted the state Agricultural Station on U.S. Highway 19 in Fanning Springs shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday to report a car  traveling at high speed all over the roadway headed to Chiefland.

Police Officer Nick Viaggio was heading north on U.S. 19 when a call came from the Sheriff's Office that the vehicle was possibly involved in an accident with another vehicle in the parking lot at the Winn Dixie on North Young Boulevard in Chiefland.

As the driver went along the shopping center, got onto U.S. 19 headed north, made a U-turn in front of the animal clinic, headed south, then turned onto County Road 320 by the Walgreen's, he was being followed by Mary M. Mascato, 59, a grandmother from Old Town. She was also providing information to Levy County Sheriff's dispatch on the suspect's whereabouts.

Patterson stopped, got out of his car, staggered, did not follow directions, argued with officers, and initially refused, then relented on taking a sobriety test which he did not complete, according to the police report.

When Patterson resisted being cuffed, Viaggio used a Taser to “touch stun” him. He was cuffed, but became verbally abusive and as Sgt. Jay Bolton tried to put him into the police car, head butted Bolton in the chest and kicked Bolton. Officer Alton Horne used a Taser to subdue Patterson and he was placed in the car.

Once at the county jail in Bronson, Patterson was disruptive and refused to take a breath test or speak with officers.