If you saw some police activity on Wed afternoon (Sept. 14th) in and around Lee’s Furniture on US Hwy 27 in Lake Wales, here’s what happened:
A LWPD officer on patrol spotted a white Buick SUV weaving in and out of traffic northbound on US 27. The officer ran the tag, which came back to a gold Chevy. The SUV made a U-turn, and LWPD followed, turning on his lights for a traffic stop, which occurred in the furniture store parking lot.
The officer immediately recognized the driver, Gary Hanford – he has several LWPD warrants for his arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (2 counts), felony battery 3rd or subsequent offense, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As the officer began putting handcuffs on Hanford, he immediately began resisting, then threw the car keys at his passenger, Sonny Santos, and yelled at Santos to “take the keys and run” – Santos did.
Hanford continued to struggle and attempted to pull a loaded gun he had in his pocket. The officer was able to get the handcuffs on him and confiscate the firearm. Hanford also had a baggie of cocaine on him. He has 7 prior felony convictions, and new charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, possession of firearm & ammo by a convicted felon, possession of cocaine & paraphernalia, DWLSR, and operating an unregistered vehicle.
The officer called for backup, and several other units arrived, including PCSO with canines and the chopper, to search for Santos. A LWPD officer found Santos later that day, and placed him under arrest. The keys that Hanford threw at him had a container attached to them, which contained cocaine.
Santos is in jail and charged with resisting arrest, possession of cocaine & paraphernalia, and his existing warrant for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
This was an excellent pair of arrests by our friends at the Lake Wales Police Department, and we’re glad nobody was seriously injured by either of these felons as they actively resisted. Teamwork makes the dream work!