ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer injured in a crash early Sunday on the way to assist with a chase has been released from Bayfront Medical Center.
St. Petersburg Officer Timothy Reyes swerved his cruiser into a curb, which caused the car to flip on its roof and then slide into a utility pole, according to police. The crash happened after a dark-colored vehicle pulled out in front of him.
The chain of events began about 12:40 a.m. when a 2002 Cadillac Deville, whose owner had left the keys inside and the engine running, was stolen from a Chevron gas station at First Avenue S and 34th Street S.
About 20 minutes later, a suspect in a silver Kia intentionally swerved into oncoming traffic and rammed one of the officers searching for the Cadillac in the area of Eighth Avenue S and 43rd Street S. That officer, whose marked cruiser sustained minor damage, wasn't hurt.
Saying the driver had committed aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, the St. Petersburg Police Department authorized a pursuit of the Kia.
To assist, authorities summoned Reyes, who was driving east on 54th Avenue S. He was at the intersection with 19th Way S when a vehicle pulled in front of him. Reyes swerved and struck a curb, which flipped the cruiser and sent it into a telephone pole and the metal fencing that surrounds Osprey Pointe Apartment Complex, police said. Reyes was hospitalized with serious injuries.
Debris from the crash struck a 2011 Ford Fusion, which was parked in the complex's lot.
Police terminated pursuit of the Kia after the crash.