VALRICO — Rhonda Gee, wife of Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, was hospitalized after authorities say a Dover gang member T-boned her car Thursday morning.
The crash happened at 7:30 a.m. near the intersection of Lithia-Pinecrest Road and Bloomingdale Avenue as Raul De Alejandro, 22, was peeling out of a Hess gas station parking lot with his 15-year-old sister, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon.
De Alejandro, who authorities say is a member of the Dover Locos gang, had been trying to buy cigarettes at the gas station, but the clerk refused to sell him a pack because he didn't have a photo ID.
He became agitated and threatened to kill the cashier, and then went into the parking lot in a manner that suggested he was going to retrieve a gun, McKinnon said.
The employee began to scream and De Alejandro got back into his car and sped out of the lot. He ran a red light and hit the passenger side door of Rhonda Gee's car at about 15 to 20 mph, said sheriff's Maj. Clyde Eisenberg.
De Alejandro kept driving, but his car broke down about a mile away. He fled on foot, and deputies arrested him a short time later.
Meanwhile, paramedics arrived, followed by David Gee.
Rhonda Gee, who had been wearing a seat belt, was alert and responsive, but paramedics were taking precautions because of possible head injuries, Eisenberg said.
The sheriff rode in the ambulance with his wife to Tampa General Hospital, where he stayed through the day. Rhonda Gee is expected to recover.
Thursday's crash wasn't the first serious accident in Sheriff Gee's family.
In 2003, his then-teenage son, Weston Gee, was injured in a car crash on the way to school. David Gee arrived at the scene as paramedics were moving his son from an ambulance to a helicopter.
Weston Gee is now a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.
De Alejandro has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, disorderly conduct, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and leaving the scene of a crash with injury.
He remained in jail Thursday night on $5,250 bail.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.