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More charges brewing for drugged Pasco tree trimmer

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - Christopher Conti's wild ride through Pasco County miraculously ended with no one being killed. During a nearly 20-minute span on March 14, Conti allegedly ran red lights, jumped medians, pulled illegal U-turns and even rammed a cruiser with his truck, which advertises his tree trimming business. It was caught on video.

Deputies finally hauled Conti out of his truck. He faces a slew of charges, including possession of cocaine, fleeing law enforcement and battery.

RELATED: Tree service in Pinellas County drops tree on house

"I saw that on the news," Barbara Janks said. "It's nice to see that he's going to be out of the tree business for awhile."

Conti might well have been out of his tree when he knocked on Barbara Janks' Palm Harbor door last August offering to trim her trees. He had no license.

Following the law doesn't appear to mean much to Conti. A lengthy record shows he branched out into a collection of criminal conduct over the years, including working without a contracting license, fleeing law enforcement and grand theft. In August problems began taking root when he dropped a tree onto Barbara's screened pool enclosure, wiping out the birdcage, damaging pavers, the pool and her lawn.

"About $12,000 when all was said and done," Barbara said.

Conti agreed he'd reimburse Barbara. He told 8 On Your Side the same thing. He broke those promises like snapping twigs.

"He was always going to show up, he was always going to show up, he was always going to show up, but he never did," Barbara said. So she filed a complaint with Pinellas County Consumer Protection.

Doug Templeton tells 8 On Your Side investigators are ready to move Barbara's complaint against Conti to the state attorney's office for prosecution. "We've investigated him previously for unlicensed contracting, as well as home solicitation without a license," Templeton said.

In addition to the $5,200 she paid Conti for his work, Barbara also had to pay for the repairs to her home.

"If there were any injuries, if there were other damages that occurred to their house without the proper licensure, without the proper workers' comp insurance, you know, they're (homeowners) certainly at risk," Templeton added.

He warns what happened to Barbara is a classic example of why you shouldn't hire people who show up at your front door.

"You very rarely in life get a chance to see Karma come around and get somebody," Barbara added.

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