VIDEO: Vehicle hits Largo police cruiser, leaves scene

Still frame from Largo Police Department video

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Largo police are asking for the public’s help finding a vehicle involved in an April hit-and-run accident. On April 30 a 2006-2008 black Infinity FX 35 hit a police cruiser.

The officer was parked in the curb lane on US 19, north of Roosevelt Boulevard, around 10:12 p.m. He had his emergency lights on.

The officer was helping a driver with a disabled vehicle. The police cruiser prevented the hit-and-run driver from striking  the tow truck and driver with the disabled vehicle, police said.

Police say the cruiser was left with a smashed driver’s mirror, scrapes on the fender and a broken axle.

The dash cam video is scary to watch. In the video, car parts fly off the Infinity as it sideswipes the police car. 8 On Your Side showed the video to two drivers from Towing America, a Clearwater company. The drivers said they see stuff like this almost every day.

“If he couldn’t have gotten over, he could have stopped, waited (until) traffic was cleared, then merged over,” Eddie Gentile said. ”That’s just totally idiotic.”

Fellow driver David Harless is very familiar with the stretch of US 19 where the accident happened. The breakdown lane is tiny, with cars buzzing by.

“Every time I go onto 275 to load a car up, ain’t gonna lie, scares the hell out of me. I’ve been doing this for a few years,” Harless said.

This kind of crash is familiar territory for Largo Lt. Paul Amodeo. It’s happened to him. “I’ll tell you that basically first thing you do is, you hear the crunch behind you. It’s very concerning. And you just hope that nothing hits you after you hear that,” Amodeo said.

Tow truck drivers can’t watch traffic when they’re hooking up a car. “It’s dangerous. Nobody obeys the move over law whatsoever,” Harless said.

“People don’t pay attention. And unfortunately people get killed over it,” Gentile added.

It happened in February on the Howard Frankland Bridge. Tow truck driver Roger Perez died after Alison Hoffman plowed into him, troopers said.

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