PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Nick Barrett is beside himself. He went to visit a friend for game night on Tuesday in Hernando County when he went to leave with his girlfriend, the truck was gone.
At first, he thought someone was playing a joke on him. The truck was his pride and joy, a 2020 loaded Ford Raptor. His girlfriend called authorities.
Because the truck was new, it had new technology that was linked to Barrett’s phone. So when Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the home on Village Drive in Brooksville, Barrett was immediately able to tell them that the truck was in Pasco County.
Hernando deputies called Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies and they were able to locate the stolen truck in a condominium complex on Cypress Creek Drive in Lutz. That’s when the teenage driver rammed a police cruiser, a garage and then sped forward hitting a tree and a fence before proceeding southbound on Cypress Creek Road in an attempt to get away.
Barrett knew right away, bad things were happening.
“All of a sudden, I started getting all of these alerts on my phone. You know, pre-collision alert, brake failure alert, tire lose pressure alert,” said Barrett. “And I’m like oh my God, my truck.”
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office posted the body-worn camera video of the pursuit on its Facebook page. Barrett compared his alerts to the time on the video.
“So when I looked at the body camera footage, I looked at the time, it’s 1:08 when he was ramming everything around,” said Barrett. “And when they got up to him it was 1:13 so it was about 1:12 in the morning when my truck flew into the pond. “
Barrett went to see his truck the day after the ordeal, and he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I can’t tell you how much I loved that truck. It was my dream truck,” said Barrett. “It’s like if you could have one truck, what would it be? I’d have a Ford Raptor.”
Barrett, who is in a wheelchair after losing one leg in a motorcycle accident, is an Army Veteran. He was working on a fishing channel on YouTube and used the truck to pull his boat, that venture has now been put on hold. A GoFundMe page is now active for those who want to help him out.
The teen accused of stealing the truck is now in custody, facing felony charges in Pasco, Hernando and Hillsborough Counties. Investigators say he also had warrants out for his arrest from Hillsborough County.
Barrett is simply thankful that neither the teen, nor the deputies were hurt.
“I’m so happy none of the sheriffs were hurt, none were injured, even the kid. I’m happy the kid made it out and wasn’t injured,” said Barrett. “But the real tragedy is now is not only is it emotionally involved for me… it’s financially involved. Why do I have to pay for someone else’s kid like that? “