Wrong-way driver crashed into FHP patrol car, troopers say

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Florida Highway Patrol troopers arrested a wrong-way drunk driver Thursday morning following a dangerous high-speed chase near the Manatee County-Hillsborough County line.

The initial call went out a little after 5 a.m. that a white Nissan Rogue was going north in the southbound lanes of I-75.

The driver, identified by FHP as Joseph Neumair, 34, exited the highway onto Gibsonton Road. Troopers tried to box him in at the intersection of Gibsonton and U.S. 41.

"The trooper pulls up behind him, flips his blue lights on and the gentleman actually puts the car in reverse and rams into the front of the patrol car with the back of his vehicle," said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, an FHP spokesperson.

Dashboard camera video shows the white SUV breaking free and speeding away down U.S. 41.

The vehicle can be seen in the video weaving between lanes, nearly crashing into several cars and eventually heading the wrong way on U.S. 41.

According to investigators, the chase topped speeds of 100 miles per hour before troopers successfully boxed in Neumair's vehicle a second time.

"Every bad decision this gentleman could make this morning he made, putting a lot of people, to include my troopers, in harm's way," Gaskins said. "We were able to get someone that needs to be off the road, we got them off the road and did so safely."

Larry Coggins, Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said this is another example of what he calls a "drunk driving epidemic."

"It's very fortunate that he didn't kill himself. It's extremely fortunate that he didn't kill our state troopers or anybody else," he said.  "Had that person just made the plan to have a designated driver, call a ride share or a cab, none of this would have happened today."

FHP said Neumair is facing a series of charges including DUI, reckless driving and Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer. As of late Thursday afternoon, he was being held in jail on $18,750 bond.