Even with its headlights off, a Chevrolet Corsica flying down College Avenue in the middle of the night isn't hard to spot.
Hillsborough sheriff's deputies first noticed the car, clocked at 98 mph, near 33rd Street SE around 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Within minutes, a cruiser had overturned, a deputy was injured and the car's 15-year-old driver was arrested on criminal charges.
It started when deputy Christopher McMurtry approached the car in his cruiser and tried to get a look at the license tag.
The driver of the Corsica, Alberto Flores, slammed on the brakes, forcing McMurtry to swerve, deputies say.
The cruiser careened into a ditch and flipped over. McMurtry, who was wearing his seat belt, was treated for a sore back and released from University Community Hospital.
Another deputy, Donald Hess, saw the car continuing along College Avenue near 33rd Street SE.
Investigators said Flores tried to ram Hess' cruiser, but ended up striking a utility pole at 21st Street SE.
Flores was arrested and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.
He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer, felony fleeing and eluding and leaving the scene of a crash. He was also charged with not having a valid driver's license and operating an unregistered vehicle.
Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said Flores has a juvenile criminal history with several previous arrests.
Flores' first arrest came in 2004 at age 11, according to records of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but he has only been judged delinquent and placed on probation for two misdemeanors.
Investigators haven't said why Flores was out driving, but Callaway said detectives believe the early morning cruise was nothing more than a joyride in his father's car.
Casey Cora can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or at firstname.lastname@example.org