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Death of Tampa man struck by patrol car during chase is investigated

TAMPA — A 24-year-old Tampa man died four days after he was hit and critically injured by a patrol car while running from Tampa police, according to police and an attorney for the man's family.

Police were pursuing Dusharn Weems in connection with a stolen car report on Oct. 20 when the collision occurred in a parking lot, police said. Weems bounced off the car and his head hit the pavement, police said.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office is still working to determine a cause of death.

Chief Brian Dugan met with Weems' family Nov. 7, police spokesman Steve Hegarty said. The name of the officer involved has not been released. He was placed on desk duty.

According to police, on the day of the crash, an officer spotted a vehicle reported stolen during an armed robbery. Weems was driving the car. When the officer attempted to pull the car over, Weems sped away.

Later, Weems abandoned the vehicle and ran away, police said. A second officer in a separate squad car joined the pursuit, pulling into a parking lot on N 30th Street and E Busch Boulevard.

That's where the patrol car struck Weems, police said.

Weems was taken to a hospital in critical condition and died later, family attorney Haydee Oropesa said.

"The family has had to hold off on grieving because they still don't know what happened," Oropesa said.

Dugan called the crash "an unfortunate timing accident," Oropesa said.

The family was told that Weems was hit by the right front of the patrol car and that a tire on the right side ran over his arm, she said.

That raises questions for the family.

"How does he get hit by the right corner of the car and his arm run over? We don't get how that happened," Oropesa said.

"Someone who is running away from the police should be running away from the patrol car, not toward them."

Contact Jonathan Capriel at Follow @jonathancapriel.