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K-9 skips car chase, nabs suspect

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By The Staff

A deputy on patrol in the area of the the area of the Dawg House bar in Fanning Springs noticed a white 2004 Toyota SUV leave the parking lot onto U.S. Highway 19 where the driver made a U-turn spinning the tires and accelerated to a high rate of speed at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14.  Deputy Matt King attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver made another U-turn, drove onto the Suwannee River Livestock Show and Fair property, then turned abruptly and drove towards King's patrol car. The deputy slammed on his brakes as the SUV driver lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree.  The driver jumped out of the passenger side door and fled on foot.  King was joined by officers with the Florida Highway Patrol, Gilchrist County and Levy K-9 Deputy Willie Barnes and his  partner Taz (Belgian Malinois). Taz tracked the suspect to the Bears Den Bar parking lot where he was apprehended. The driver was identified as Victor Vanderlinde, 37, of Fanning Springs, who has a record of felony convictions dating back to 1996.  An investigation revealed the Toyota was reported stolen on Monday, Aug. 8, while parked outside a home in Cedar Key.  Vanderlinde is charged with grand theft auto, driving on a revoked driver's license for a habitual traffic offender and resisting arrest without violence.