TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Maryland man is now in jail after law enforcement officials say he spit on a gas station clerk and fled from deputies in the Florida Keys.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, 34-year-old Torrance Fitzgerald Hillard was arrested Friday morning and charged with battery, fleeing, and eluding.
Deputies say the incident began around 3 a.m. when the sheriff’s office responded to a Shell gas station, located at 11100 Overseas Highway in Marathon, for a report of a suspicious man wearing a Burger King paper crown inside the store who was talking to himself and pacing.
A release from the sheriff’s office says Hillard spit on the clerk’s face when he was asked to leave the convenience store.
Deputies say they spotted Hillard’s black Cadillac a short time later driving southbound on U.S. 1 near Mile Marker 30. While trying to conduct a traffic stop, MCSO said Hillard sped away from deputies, reaching speeds of 79 miles per hour. Another deputy was able to successfully stop Hillard near Mile Marker 16.
When questioned as to why he fled, the sheriff’s office said Hillard stated he thought he was driving in a direction that would get him out of Monroe County in an effort to avoid being arrested.