According to a police report, officers began chasing a car driven by Reliford Cooper III after the vehicle was spotted speeding around 7:45 PM Wednesday.
With police in pursuit, Cooper, 26, raced through a stop sign and drove through two ditches before crashing into an occupied home on a street in Palmetto, a city 15 miles north of Sarasota.
Cooper, a Palmetto resident, bolted from the car and sought to hide in the bathroom of a nearby Pentecostal church, but he was chased out by parishioners (and into the arms of police).
Cooper, who smelled of booze and marijuana, asked cops, “Who was chasing me?” He added, “You slow as f**k!” But Cooper then disavowed being at the wheel, claiming, “My dog was driving that car, I ran cause I wanted to. You ain’t gonna find no drugs or guns on me.”
Cooper is a convicted felon who served nearly five years in a Florida state prison following his conviction on armed robbery, burglary, and grand theft charges. Since his release from custody in mid-2013, Cooper has twice been arrested for aggravated assault.
Cooper, who told cops he works at a car wash, was charged last night with drunk driving, resisting arrest, and leaving the scene of an accident. He is locked up in lieu of $26,120 bond, according to jail records.