POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Dramatic video shows a Florida Highway Patrol trooper making a split-second decision that may have saved a Polk County deputy’s life.
On Monday afternoon, at the County Road 557 exit westbound on I-4, a Polk County deputy was putting down stop sticks to catch a driver during a police chase, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
As the suspect evaded law enforcement, he immediately lost control, which sent him careening into the grassy median between the ramps.
Video shows the vehicle was heading towards the deputy standing by a guardrail when a cruiser being driven by an FHP trooper crashed into the out-of-control vehicle to stop it.
Nobody was injured.
The accused driver, 20-year-old Nain Nolasco of Mulberry, and a 16-year-old boy were taken into custody at the scene.
“What you see in that video is nothing unusual for deputies, officers, and troopers anywhere. They will insert themselves into dangerous situations without hesitation for not only other law enforcement, but for anyone who is in danger. It’s what we do,” wrote Sheriff Grady Judd in a statement.
“Initially my reaction is ‘Wow that was extremely brave, extremely courageous, and extremely dangerous,’” said Danny Alvarez, general counsel for Tampa’s Police Benevolent Association.
Alvarez said what occurred east of Lakeland Monday afternoon showcases the risks officers face on duty.
“Roadside dangers when you’re in law enforcement are at the top of the list that take law enforcement lives. We know it’s one of the most dangerous things you can be doing but you just can’t separate the danger from the job. It’s gotta get done,” he said.
Pinellas County Deputy Michael Magli was deploying stop sticks to bring an end to a police chase back in February, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
He was killed by the drunken driver evading police, according to authorities.
“Deputy Magli highlights the facts of what we’re talking about today and the importance of bringing attention to this fact,” said Alvarez.
Trooper Binet’s decision to crash his vehicle on purpose was just as risky, according to Alvarez.
“I think people watch way too many movies and think that after someone crashes their car trying to save somebody else, that they’re always going to walk away. You’re looking at a video where a Florida state trooper put his life on the line to stop a dangerous situation and save the life of a fellow law enforcement officer that he probably doesn’t even know,” he said.
Nolasco is facing charges of grand theft auto, no valid driver’s license, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, child neglect, reckless driving, fleeing to elude, and had a warrant out of Hillsborough County for burglary.
The 16-year-old passenger was charged with burglary.