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HARTline bus, stolen car collide in East Tampa during police chase

TAMPA — With a police car in pursuit, a man sped away in a stolen car, crashed into a HARTline bus and got away on foot Friday, police said.

Two people received minor injuries in the crash at 29th Street and 21st Avenue, police said.

Police were still investigating the crash hours later and pulling stolen stereo equipment from the stolen car.

"Looks like a morning crime spree," said John Bennett, assistant police chief. "We've got to catch him first, which won't be long."

The chase began just after 6:45 a.m. when a police officer spotted a Nissan Altima acting as a getaway car for someone breaking into another car at McBarry Street and 19th Street, police said.

The driver ignored an officer's signal for a traffic stop and sped away. The officer determined the car was stolen and began a pursuit. But the driver of the stolen Altima, with the headlights off, tried to veer around a HART­line bus that was turning left onto 29th Street, police said. It scraped the side of the bus, which came to rest in the middle of the intersection. The car spun and hit a pole.

Debris covered the middle of the road from the Altima and the bus.

Four passengers were on the bus at the time. Passenger Latonia Murray-Davis, 40, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in a neck brace.

Ezell Collins, 48, hurt his ankle as he either ran from the oncoming crash or was hit by flying debris at a bus stop and was taken to St. Joseph's.

Police said the Altima belongs to Ebony Henderson and was stolen from 3001 Hudson St.

Police described the suspected car thief as a black man in his 20s or 30s, 140 to 160 pounds, about 5 feet 9, with freckles or scars on his face and short hair. He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie and charcoal jeans.

HARTline bus, stolen car collide in East Tampa during police chase 02/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 11:43pm]
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