TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg man was arrested late Monday night after he was accused of leading police on a chase with a 5-year-old in the car.
According to an arrest report from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), troopers spotted an SUV driven by Jamal Raeshad Hopkins, 31, that was unable to maintain its lane on the Veterans Expressway in Tampa.
Hopkins was accused of speeding off after troopers tried to pull him over. The chase continued onto West Kennedy Blvd.
Dashboard camera video showed the SUV reverse into the patrol car while trying to make a U-turn, striking the front driver’s side. The patrol car bumped into the SUV again when the driver hit the brakes while the trooper was attempting a PIT maneuver, according to the FHP arrest report.
The SUV sped back onto the expressway and exited at Independence Parkway. The driver missed a curve and struck a concrete wall, bringing the chase to an end.
Hopkins was pulled from the vehicle and placed in handcuffs. A 30-year-old St. Pete woman sitting in the passenger seat was also detained at the scene. She was identified as the owner of the SUV and claimed she told Hopkins to stop the car multiple times, but he refused.
A 5-year-old boy was sitting in the back seat of the car at the time of the chase. The arrest report stated Hopkins’ “reckless actions” put the boy “at risk of bodily harm.”
A search of the vehicle turned up “a large quantity of cash,” multiple cellphones and what one trooper described as “a massive bag of weed.”
Hopkins was charged with two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, child neglect, kidnapping, possession of cannabis with intent to sell, reckless driving, reckless driving with property damage, fleeing to elude, and driving with a suspended or revoked license – his third offense.