Search underway for driver who tried to run over FWC officer in St. Pete

(Source: FWC)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.  (WFLA ) –  A Florida Fish and Wildlife officer is recovering, but not because of an injury from gator or a snake, he was nearly run over.

To make matters worse, when he tried to chase the driver down, the driver rammed right into his truck.

Investigators are now searching for a 2012 or 2013 white Honda Accord EXL with major front end damage that is believed to be involved in this incident.

“Complete disregard for public safety,” Officer James Boogaerts of FWC told News Channel 8.  His colleague, Officer Reese Alvis, nearly lost his life.  “Absolutely and it is scary.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Alvis had just gotten out of his truck at the Walgreen’s parking lot at the intersection of 66th Street North and 54th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. Moments later, investigators say, the Honda they’re now searching for, came out of nowhere.

“Comes cutting a hard left across, swerves right into the parking lot, nearly strikes this officer,” Officer Boogaerts said.

After the near miss, Officer Alvis then got back into his truck and began chasing the car, but that chase only lasted a few blocks. The chase nearly came to an end on 52nd Court North, where the driver turned around.  Turns out, it was a quiet cul-de-sac and the driver had nowhere to go but back the way they came.

That’s when Officer Alvis tried to block the driver in with his truck.  That didn’t stop the driver,  who rammed into the officer’s truck and then kept on going.

Robert Cox lives at the intersection of the crash and came home to find police everywhere.

“It’s never happened before,” Cox told News Channel 8.  “We’ve been here like 32 years.”

“We’re very happy no one was injured,” Officer Boogaerts said.

Once caught, the driver will face charges of fleeing and attempting to elude an officer and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

FWC officers have the right to follow suspects just like other law enforcement agencies.

They tell us that if they spot someone acting erratically or posing some type of public safety threat, they can pull them over.

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