TAMPA — A Tampa police officer and another driver were injured in a car crash on Busch Boulevard Tuesday night.
Officer Jeff Bartlett, 27, a six-year veteran of the department, was taken to Tampa General Hospital with non-life threatening injures.
The other driver, identified as Ronald Adkins, 58, of Tampa, was flown to the same hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.
Police say Bartlett was driving west on E Busch Boulevard approaching N 22 Street when Adkins, traveling east, turned left directly in front of him, causing the collision.
The cruiser T-boned Adkins' 1987 Oldsmobile, pushing it into the signal control box. Tampa Fire Rescue responded around 7:20 p.m.
Willisa Pierre, 16, said she was about to cross Busch Boulevard with her brother when she saw the accident.
She said the cruiser was not traveling at a fast speed when the other car pulled in front of it.
"He tried to hit the brakes," said the Wharton High School junior, "but there was nothing he could do."
Frantz Joseph, 31, working inside the Walgreens Drug Store at the intersection, said he heard no siren before the crash. He said he heard only tires screeching and a loud bang.
"I saw the small white car hit the pole and the cop's car slide behind it," Joseph said. "People were trying to help them out of the car before the cops came."
Traffic was diverted in some directions following the crash, which had knocked the traffic signal out of service.