HAINES CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A couple is now facing numerous charges after Haines City police say they hit a patrol vehicle, nearly ran over a police K-9 and broke into the mayor’s home.
Haines City Mayor Morris West still can’t believe what happened and is grateful no one was hurt, including a Haines City police K-9 named Cash and his handler, Officer Elam.
“I am so, so grateful for all of our law enforcement,” Mayor West told 8 on your Side.
The Haines City Police Department, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Osceola County were all part of a multi-jurisdictional team that ultimately helped save the mayor’s life.
In the early hours of Monday morning, Mayor West and his wife were sleeping in their Haines City home.
At approximately 3 a.m, the mayor got the shock of his life. Police say, Matthew Swett, 31 and his partner Kaila Ellig, 32, were on the run from the cops, hiding on a neighborhood lanai.
Little did they know, they’re hiding spot was the mayor’s house.
“They picked the wrong house,” the mayor explained.”That was my house. Out of the 28,000 people we have here, they picked the mayor’s house, what are the chances of that?”
So, why did the two suspects need a place to hide? Police tell us the couple’s car was parked at a nearby construction site, just sitting there around 2 a.m.
When Officer Elam and K-9 Cash stopped by to check it out, detectives tell us Swett hit the gas ramming into Tucker’s patrol vehicle. A chase ensued and Swett put his vehicle in reverse and tried to hit Elam and Cash, but Elam managed to pull the dog out of the way and carried Cash in his arms while running away from the vehicle.
Mayor West talked about the bond handlers have with their partners.
“That’s like a human being to an officer. To injure a K-9 is like injuring an officer. It’s the same category. We’re thankful for our K-9 officers,” West said.
Police say afterward, Swett rammed Elam’s vehicle and sped away before crashing at Prado Grande Avenue and Old Polk City Road. Swett and his partner Kaila Elig, 32, of Davenport ran away from the crash shortly before the vehicle caught on fire.
Officers Justin Vasquez, Elam and Cash arrived at the scene first and tried to get Swett to surrender peacefully, but he continued to reach for a concealed knife in his front waistband and ignoring officers’ instructions.
However, Elam deployed Cash, who bit Swett on the leg and allowed officers to take him into custody. Elig surrendered without any issue.
“You know, Haines City was listed as one of the safest places to live, work and play,” the Mayor said. “It’s because of law enforcement and I’m thankful to them each and every day.”
The suspects are behind bars facing a multitude of charges, including armed burglary, battery on a lawn enforcement officer and drug possession, to name a few.
Meanwhile, the mayor is hoping to honor law enforcement at an upcoming City Council meeting. He wants to thank them for their life-saving work, showing them that the entire city is grateful for their loyal service