BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Hillsborough County deputies are recovering from surgery Friday morning.
Sheriff Chad Chronister said a man rammed his vehicle into Deputy Manny Santos and Corporal Carlos Brito, pinning them to a patrol car.
According to investigators, the two were responding to a call in Brandon about Ralph Bouzy. The 28-year-old’s family contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office saying he was going through a mental health crisis.
“When this call was dispatched, a red flag went up saying ‘Hey listen, this is an individual who has been violent toward law enforcement.'” Chronister said.
The sheriff said Bouzy initially drove away when deputies entered the Heather Lakes neighborhood, but he returned a short time later and intentionally hit Brito and Santos.
“Unfortunately, when they were struck, they were driven 10-15 feet into their car where they were pinned in between two cars as they were trying to escape for their lives,” Chronister said. Body camera video shows Bouzy exiting his vehicle unarmed.
Leaders with HCSO said both Brito and Santos have serious injuries to their legs. Brito’s injuries are so severe that his leg might have to be amputated.
“Deputy Brito is awake and surrounded by his family,” Chronister wrote in a social media post on Friday. “The surgeons are monitoring his progress and continue to do everything possible to save his leg.”
Chronister also shared an update on Santos’ condition.
“Deputy Santos has a bilateral break in his leg with extensive ligament damage and will require surgery,’ Chronister said. “He and his wife are in good spirits and Tampa General Hospital is taking great care of them.”
A fundraiser was set up through the Lynn Sowers Memorial Foundation. Donations will help cover medical expenses, rehabilitation and any additional support the deputies and their families might need. The fundraiser page can be accessed by clicking here.
“During these challenging times, our hearts go out to Deputy Santos, Corporal Britos, and their families. Their dedication to the safety of our community has left them with critical injuries, and we stand united in our collective hope for their swift recovery,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “We are immensely grateful for their courage and as a community, we must rally together to support them on their journey to healing.”
Deputy Santos has been with the sheriff’s office since 2019, Corporal Brito joined in 2013.
A records search reveals Bouzy has a lengthy criminal history, including a 2017 hit-and-run where he punched a deputy in the face. According to an HCSO spokesperson, he is in custody at the hospital.