A Tampa police officer was recovering Monday after hanging from the driver's side of a stolen car for four blocks. The speeding car later crashed into a telephone pole and caught fire after a police chase.
Police said the chase started about 11 p.m., when Officer Kiet Truong approached the driver's side of a white 1994 Chevrolet Corvette near Beach Street and Rome Avenue.
But while another officer investigated the car's license tag and information about driver Legrand Pratt, the 42-year-old North Carolina man "got nervous" and reached for the ignition, according to a police report. Truong, 32, tried to stop Pratt from putting the keys in the ignition, but Pratt took off with the officer hanging from the door.
Pratt drove about four blocks before Truong fell away onto the pavement. Pratt continued for 2 miles before losing control and crashing into a telephone pole.
Truong was treated and released from a local hospital. Pratt was charged with attempted homicide on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing to elude and driving without a valid driver's license. He also has an outstanding warrant for his arrest out of York County, S.C. He was held at Orient Road Jail without bail.
Pratt has been arrested 10 times in Florida since 1998 and has been sentenced twice to prison. He also has a record in North Carolina, where he is considered a "habitual felon." Charges there have included larceny, assault and possessing stolen goods.