TAMPA — A Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy was hospitalized Sunday with a knee injury after being hit by a motorcyclist trying to escape.
Deputy Mark Montano was in the area of Ehrlich Road and Winter Wind Drive about 10 a.m. and noticed a Suzuki motorcycle that had been reported stolen, sheriff's officials said.
When Montano got out of his cruiser and tried to stop traffic in order to approach the bike, the driver, whom officials identified as George Farmer, drove around the stopped vehicles and ran into Montano.
The impact knocked Montano to his knees, and the motorcyclist fled the scene with a female passenger. Montano was taken to University Community Hospital, officials said.
Sheriff's deputies followed the motorcyclist by helicopter into Pasco County, where he quickly dumped the bike in the area of Ryals and Aulbach roads and ran away with his female passenger. Farmer, 43, of 1116 Lane Road in Zephyrhills was eventually found in the area and charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, grand theft and felony fleeing and eluding. The female passenger has not been found.