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Chief's day: car crash, a ticket

It usually takes police Chief Steve Hogue about 30 minutes to get to the office from his home in Tampa Palms.

But Wednesday was a bad day.

Hogue was pulling onto Interstate 75 from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard about 6:30 a.m. when he ran into the back of a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta.

The impact pushed the Jetta into the back of a 2000 Acura, and that vehicle then rolled into the back of Ford pickup.

"It was all my fault," Hogue said later. "I just wasn't careful enough."

Hogue said he was looking over his left shoulder at traffic coming onto the ramp, "and I didn't realize traffic had stopped up ahead."

No one was injured, but damage to the Jetta and Hogue's department-issued 1999 Crown was extensive, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

The other two vehicles sustained minor damage.

Officer Paul Hoffman investigated the crash.

"It's part of the job," Hoffman said. "Chief Hogue said he was wrong and should be issued a citation. So we did our job."

Hogue was cited for following too closely, Hoffman said.

The chief will pay the fine and deal with the points on his license, McElroy said.

Hogue said he is grateful no one was injured.

"I'm just embarrassed," he said. "I feel terrible about damaging other people's property and inconveniencing them."

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