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While chasing car, deputy is hit by SUV

A woman who may have been drinking crashed into a Pinellas County sheriff's cruiser as it pursued another car at high speed early Friday morning, authorities said.

The chase started near Ulmerton Road and 40th Street, just south of St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

It ended about 1:30 a.m. when Grace Mariano Umali's Toyota Forerunner struck a sheriff's cruiser driven by Deputy John Bradshaw.

Bradshaw, a six-year employee, broke his leg and suffered several other injuries when his cruiser rammed into a utility pole at 38th Avenue N and 49th Street, officials said.

Umali, 22, of St. Petersburg also was injured when her Toyota flipped and came to rest upside-down. Umali's injuries were not life-threatening. Her 3-year-old son, who was in the vehicle with her, was not seriously injured, the Sheriff's Office said.

The white Plymouth Regal that Bradshaw and other deputies were pursuing came to a stop five blocks away at 33rd Avenue N and 49th Street because its tires had been punctured by Sheriff's Office devices. Seven people were in the car, and three Clearwater men were arrested on charges of resisting arrest without violence and loitering and prowling: 21-year-old Jerrod Bradley, 18-year-old Christopher Neal and 20-year-old Timothy Walker.

Sheriff's spokesman Mac McMullen said based on observations by investigators at the scene and statements Umali made, deputies think Umali may have been drinking before the crash. He also said the chase took place at a "high rate of speed" and that the Sheriff's Office was still looking into the accident.

Umali had not been charged with a crime as of Friday, but "it is still an active investigation," McMullen said.

The State Attorney's office was reviewing possible charges against Allenecia Gay, a 19-year-old St. Petersburg woman who was in the Regal with her 2-year-old daughter. Authorities are searching for two other people in the Regal who ran away after the car stopped.

The pursuit began on Ulmerton Road when Bradshaw saw a Plymouth Regal making abrupt lane changes near 40th Street, the Sheriff's Office said. The Sheriff's Office allows deputies to engage in a pursuit if they think someone is behaving in a manner that could jeopardize public safety.

The pursuit began, and continued south on 49th Street, as three other deputies joined in. At 46th Avenue, the Regal went over a set of "stop sticks," a device that deputies throw on streets to puncture tires.

At 38th Avenue, Umali crashed into Bradshaw's cruiser. The Regal, which had punctured tires, came to a stop at 33rd Avenue.

Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

TO HELP

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200.1

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