Man intentionally hits, severely injures 2 Fla. deputies with car

“These deputies never had a chance,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “They didn’t have a chance to get out of the way"

By Tony Marrero and Dan Sullivan
Tampa Bay Times

BRANDON, Fla. — Two Hillsborough deputies were seriously injured Thursday when a man intentionally struck them with a car during a mental health call in Brandon, Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call at 7:44 a.m. from a woman who said her adult son was experiencing a mental health crisis at their home in the Heather Lakes subdivision, Chronister said a news conference at the scene a few hours later.

The man, later determined to be Ralph Bouzy, 28, was acting irrationally and violently, and the woman said she feared for her life, Chronister said.

Cpl. Carlos Brito and Deputy Manny Santos arrived and saw Bouzy sitting behind the wheel of a parked car.

“They try to establish a rapport,” Chronister said. “They try to deescalate the situation. He wants nothing to do with the deputies. He won’t roll the window down. He won’t open up the door. He won’t even engage in conversation.”

Instead, Chronister said, Bouzy put the car in reverse and left the scene.

Two other deputies arrived. Shortly after, Bouzy returned to the scene and accelerated, nearly hitting the two deputies who had just arrived, and headed toward Brito and Santos at a high rate of speed and struck both.

“These deputies never had a chance,” Chronister said. “They didn’t have a chance to get out of the way.”

Both Brito and Santos suffered serious injuries to their legs. Brito was trapped between two vehicles and was more severely injured, Chronister said. His femur bone was stuck between two vehicles, and surgeons may need to amputate his leg, Chronister said.

Bouzy was arrested at the scene.

“Fortunately, we won’t be planning a funeral regardless of how intendant and determined this suspect was to take a deputy’s life,” Chronister said.

As Chronister spoke, evidence markers dotted the pavement in Dexwell Court and a Nissan Altima with heavy front-end damage sat against a marked sheriff’s office pickup.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report.

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