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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Hillsborough County deputies were seriously hurt after they were hit by a car in Brandon on Thursday morning.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the HCSO Communications Center received a call at 7:44 a.m. from a woman stating that her adult son was in a mental health crisis at their Brandon home in the Heather Lake subdivision, acting irrationally and violently. She was in fear for her life, Sheriff Chronister said.
The suspect is 28-year-old Ralph Bouzy, who has a history of criminal activity and has been arrested five times, with three felony charges and 14 misdemeanor charges.
When deputies arrived, they attempted to de-escalate the situation but the suspect wouldn’t cooperate or communicate with them. He put his car in reverse and left the area.
“This was intentional,” Sheriff Chronister said.
When he returned around 8 a.m., he “deliberately accelerated” and aimed his car at them, striking both of them, who were about 10 feet from their cars.
Deputies tried to jump out of the way to avoid being hit but got pinned between their two patrol cars.
One of the deputies, Corporal Carlos Brito suffered the most damage. A piece of his femur bone got stuck between the cars. His leg may be amputated. A surgeon asked for that bone for the procedure to save his life and his leg.
The other deputy, Manny Santos, has significant leg injuries. Sheriff Chronsiter said he had a bilateral break in his leg.
As of this report, both deputies are in surgery.
“There is no other way to describe this other than an ambush,” said Sheriff Chronister. “Our deputies put their lives on the line every day to protect this community and what happened today makes me absolutely sick.”
Two backup deputies on the scene approached Bouzy as he was walking “nonchalantly” to his home deployed tasers and arrested him.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue helped with life-saving measures for the two deputies. They were then medically evacuated to Tampa General Hospital.
Bouzy was a suspect in a hit-and-run in 2017 and punched a deputy in the face. In the back of that patrol car, he stated that he “hated law enforcement and that he was going to kill a deputy sheriff.”
“These deputies’ lives are changed forever,” Sheriff Chronister said.
Bouzy was charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer.
The department said this is an active investigation and additional charges are pending.