PLANT CITY, Fla. - A driver fleeing from deputies ended up causing a crash that left several people injured, including two children who were unrestrained in the car.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, it was just before noon when deputies were called to a report of shots fired in the Plant City area. When they arrived at the scene, they encountered the car and tried to pull it over.
That's when they say the driver, 27-year-old Troy Tatum of Lithia, accelerated toward the deputies, nearly striking them, then fled west towards Highway 60.
"The deputy was trying to move out of the way and the driver of the vehicle actually swerved his vehicle head on, almost striking the deputy, causing him to move out of the way," said Morris.
The fleeing vehicle crossed the median at Smith Ryals Road and struck an oncoming car. Both vehicles ended up in a field beside the roadway, with the suspect car overturned.
"The airbag deployed, which probably saved his life," Morris said of the driver of the other vehicle.
Two children, ages 3 and 6, were unrestrained in the suspect's vehicle. They were taken by ambulance to the hospital.
"We have children who are unrestrained, they don't get a say in the matter," said Capt. Donald Morris, of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
A female passenger from the suspect's vehicle was injured badly enough to be flown from the scene.
The driver of the second vehicle was the only person in the car. His condition was not immediately clear, but was not taken to the hospital.
Tatum is facing charges for aggravated assault on an officer and fleeing to elude. He was already wanted in Polk County for resisting an officer and having drugs.
"What is the moral? The moral is when the police turn on their lights, stop," said Morris. "We have two children 3 and 6 who did not get a say in this and had to ride by ambulance to a hospital where now they are scared and we are trying to make sure they are going to be OK."
Tatum could still face charges for causing the accident itself.
Deputies found no shots were fired despite the initial call.