Shortly before 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, an officer from the St. Petersburg Police Department came up upon a vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of I-275 near the middle of the Howard Frankland Bridge.
In assessing the three-vehicle crash, the officer became aware that one of the drivers had been stabbed during an altercation from a road rage incident. The officer detained the suspect in the stabbing.
After securing the suspect, the officer immediately initiated first aid measures on the victim to control the bleeding. The victim was transported by ambulance to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with injuries to his hand and arm.
Troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) discovered that a 35-year-old Tampa man (Driver 1) had stopped in the travel lanes and was slumped inside his vehicle for unknown reasons.
A 40-year-old Tampa man (Driver 2) and his 43-year-old wife observed the hazard and stopped ahead of slumped over driver.
Driver 2 exited his vehicle to aid the passed-out driver but could not access him. He returned to his vehicle to retrieve an item to break the window to assist the driver. Before this could occur, the driver awoke and drove forward, colliding with Driver 2’s vehicle.
Unable to continue forward, the newly awakened driver reversed and attempted to drive around Driver 2’s vehicle.
Driver 1 collided with the driver of a third vehicle, passing the incident. The driver of the third vehicle was identified as 38-year-old Patrick Douglas Scruggs of Tampa.
Scruggs exited his vehicle, approached Driver 1, broke out the side window, and stabbed Driver 1 multiple times with a pocket knife.
Driver 2 and his wife returned to assist the initial driver to intercept the actions of Scruggs. Scruggs diverted his attention as the pair approached and attempted to stab the man and his wife, who fled before being harmed.
A passing St. Petersburg Police Officer stopped, detained Scruggs, and aided the victim, who was transported to an area hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspect, 38-year-old Patrick Scruggs of Tampa, was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail on the following charges.
- Armed Burglary
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery with a deadly weapon
Scruggs was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Middle District of Florida from September 9, 2012, through April 21, 2023. In May of 2023, he began working for the law firm, Barnes & Thornburg, at an office in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm’s website was down following the incident but is back operational now with no mention of Scruggs.
The incident closed three southbound lanes on I-275.
Troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) continue investigating the crash.
All lanes were reopened at approximately 12:10 p.m.