A police officer was hospitalized and a number of squad cars were damaged as authorities made three dramatic arrests in Pinellas Park while investigating a carjacking Wednesday night.
The arrests were made about 6:30 p.m. on Park Boulevard.
A tipster had alerted detectives that the people responsible for a carjacking Tuesday night may have been in the area of Park and 43rd Street N.
When officers arrived in the area, they saw a Hundai Sonata in the parking lot of a Citgo gas station that had been taken in the carjacking. The driver went inside the station, then emerged and entered the passenger side of a second vehicle in the parking lot, police said.
Officers moved in. The driver of the second vehicle accelerated and ran head-on into a cruiser driven by Officer Eric Holmes, police said. The crash caused heavy damage to the cruiser and resulted in Holmes going to the hospital with injuries not considered life threatening.
Officers took the driver, Mundrae Francis, 24, and the passenger, Sharrod Holmes, 16, into custody, police reported.
Meanwhile, a person sitting in the Sonata moved into the driver seat and rammed several police cars, drove over gas pumps and escaped onto Park Boulevard. Members of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office's Violent Crimes Task Force, who were there to assist, followed the Sonata and brought it to a stop near the Home Depot just west of U.S. 19, police said.
The driver, Corey Ellis, 18, was taken into custody and faces charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault. A gun was found in his car, police said.
Police said Ellis and Holmes match the description of the people involved in the carjacking. They face a number of charges.
The carjacking occurred about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as two 17-year-old girls were in a Sonata in the driveway of a friend's house in the 1800 block of 64th Avenue N.
While they waited, a black car pulled in behind them. Two males got out of the car and one told the driver to give him the keys.
She dropped the keys on the ground and one male hit her in the face with the butt of a gun. One male drove off with the Sonata. The other left in the black car.
The driver was taken to All Children's Hospital, where she was treated for a cut on her face, police said.