Woman in stolen car arrested after troopers use PIT maneuver along Howard Frankland Bridge

Between Tampa and St. Pete, a driver of a stolen vehicle was fleeing from troopers at the height of Wednesday afternoon's rush hour – until troopers spun her car out in the middle of the Howard Frankland Bridge.

Just after 5 p.m., troopers received a BOLO for the silver Nissan Altima that was reported stolen from a Gainesville rental company, Sunrise Auto Rentals and Sales. The vehicle had a GPS device, which allowed the rental company to provide its location to the Florida Highway Patrol, troopers said.

Troopers started their search at Interstate 275 and Fowler Avenue and began receiving GPS pings as they headed south to the Dale Mabry Highway exit. That's where they spotted the stolen vehicle. 

They said once the driver – later identified as 26-year-old Wykeria Stevenson – noticed the emergency flashing lights from their patrol vehicles, she "brake-checked" one trooper and "took evasive action and fled southbound," according to the traffic report.

Troopers said she was traveling over 100 mph and was recklessly maneuvering in and out of lanes. 

The pursuit reached the Howard Frankland Bridge and Stevenson was forced to slow down in traffic to 50 or 60 mph. In dashcam video released by FHP, Stevenson apparently attempts to enter the right shoulder, plowing into one of the construction barriers. That's where one trooper used a PIT maneuver while the barrier bounced into one of the center traffic lanes.

Other troopers surrounded the car, pulled their handguns out and yelling for Stevenson to exit and "get on the ground." 

She is heard screaming in the dashcam footage, "Yessir," before asking, "What is going on?" 

Stevenson was taken into custody. When she was placed in the back of the patrol car, she is heard saying, "I'm tired," then wondering out loud, "How'd they even catch me?"

During the arrest, she told one of the troopers she was pregnant, epileptic, and "was experiencing an episode," officials wrote in the traffic report. She was taken to Bayfront Hospital and cleared by medical staff. She was booked into Hillsborough County Jail by 9:54 p.m. that day. 

The incident report did not confirm whether she was pregnant or having a medical episode.

Troopers said Stevenson, who lives in Dunnellon, had a suspended driver's license as of November 1, 2018. There are multiple active warrants for her arrest out of Georgia.

They did not say how she may have obtained the stolen vehicle, or where she was heading.

She was released on bond Thursday under the condition that she not operate a motor vehicle.

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