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Driver who hit patrol car faces DUI charge

A drunken driver in a pickup truck barreled into a Pinellas County sheriff's cruiser stopped at a light early Tuesday morning, totaling the patrol car, officials said.

Bruce A. Clark of St. Petersburg was charged with DUI after he was released from the hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries. Clark, 41, was later released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $500 bail.

Deputy Kenneth Hopson, who has been with the agency since March 1989, was also treated at a hospital and released.

Hopson was stopped about 2 a.m. at a light at Ulmerton Road and 40th Street, which is just south of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Clark's truck was approaching the intersection from the west, and he saw the traffic light but not the cruiser, according to sheriff's officials.

The 2001 Dodge truck struck the cruiser from behind at about 50 mph, pushing the cruiser about 150 feet into the intersection.

The cruiser was totaled, officials said, with about $15,000 in damage. The crash did about $5,000 in damage to Clark's truck.

Clark's eyes were bloodshot and he refused a blood-alcohol test, according to an arrest affidavit.