Dramatic surveillance video recently captured the moment a Florida police officer was nearly killed when a fleeing burglary suspect struck him with a car.
According to the Sarasota Police Department, it all started when officers responded to reports of a vehicle burglary on Bird Key on the afternoon of March 20. Video evidence suggested the suspect was driving a white Mercedes S-series. The same Mercedes was spotted several hours later on nearby Longboat Key, in a neighborhood where a Range Rover had just been stolen. But the driver of the Mercedes, 22-year-old suspect Mark Thomas, sped past the police vehicle barricade and drove directly into an officer, sending him flying over the hood of the car.
Police immediately took off in pursuit of the driver, while remaining officers rushed to their injured colleague’s aid.
“It was horrific. It was terrible. We all gasped as we saw the officer jump about 4–6 inches off the ground and really save his own life,” Sarasota Police Chief Rex Troche told CBS 10 Tampa Bay.
Eventually, the officer was able to stand up and was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Thankfully, doctors said, he sustained a leg contusion but no fractures and is expected to make a full recovery.
Chief Troche reported that the officer was in “good spirits” when he spoke to him after the incident.
Following the hit-and-run crash, Sarasota Police officers pursued the white four-door S-Series Mercedes north on U.S. 41 until it was abandoned in the 2900 block of Orange Avenue. Thomas was later arrested on March 22 at a probation office in Broward County. He faces charges including aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, as well as fleeing and eluding police with disregard for safety.
Police say Thomas has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2019, and was recently released from prison in late February. He had previously been convicted of grand theft auto, cocaine and marijuana possession, burglary and charges related to carrying a concealed firearm.