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December 19, 2005
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Police: Florida man arrested on DWI drives off in cruiser

SELDEN, N.Y.- A Florida man arrested Saturday for alleged drunken driving slipped off his handcuffs, slid into the driver's seat of a police car and sped off, police said. He was captured a short time later.

Just before the incident, Thomas Elflein, 26, was spotted trying to avoid a DWI checkpoint by pulling into a gas station around 12:30 a.m., said Suffolk County Police Detective Sgt. William Lamb.

Officers handcuffed him and put him in the back of a marked police car, Lamb said. But while an officer was outside recording license information, Elflein pulled off the handcuffs, got into the driver's seat and drove away, Lamb said. He said Elflein eventually abandoned the police car and was tracked down by search dogs.

Elflein, of Deltona, Fla., was charged with third-degree grand larceny, resisting arrest, third-degree escape, driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation.

He was to be arraigned in district court in Central Islip, on Long Island.

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