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Brandon man accused of hitting Hillsborough deputies with car to remain in custody

A judge on Friday denied bond to Ralph Bouzy and set a hearing for Wednesday to determine if he will remain in custody until his case is resolved.
 
In this image from video taken by a Hillsborough deputy's body camera, two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies are seen on the ground as suspect Ralph Bouzy walks from his vehicle Thursday in Brandon. Bouzy, 28, was arrested moments later on three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, accused of intentionally striking the two deputies with his car and nearly hitting a third deputy. A judge ruled Friday that Bouzy will remain in jail at least until a hearing next week, when prosecutors will argue that he should be kept in jail until his case is resolved.
In this image from video taken by a Hillsborough deputy's body camera, two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies are seen on the ground as suspect Ralph Bouzy walks from his vehicle Thursday in Brandon. Bouzy, 28, was arrested moments later on three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, accused of intentionally striking the two deputies with his car and nearly hitting a third deputy. A judge ruled Friday that Bouzy will remain in jail at least until a hearing next week, when prosecutors will argue that he should be kept in jail until his case is resolved. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Nov. 10, 2023|Updated Nov. 10, 2023

TAMPA — A man accused of intentionally striking and seriously injuring two Hillsborough deputies in Brandon will remain in custody at least until a hearing next week.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Cynthia Oster ruled Friday that Ralph Bouzy, 28, will remain in custody at least until a hearing set for Wednesday, when prosecutors will argue that he should stay in custody until his case is resolved.

Prosecutors with the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office told Oster that they will file a motion for pre-trial detention for Bouzy, who was arrested Thursday on three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a weapon.

An attorney for the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s office told Oster that Bouzy waived his appearance for Friday’s hearing.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday that Bouzy was “aggressive” as deputies were arresting him Thursday, so he was sedated and taken to the hospital.

Ralph Bouzy is seen in a 2018 booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Ralph Bouzy is seen in a 2018 booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

The two injured deputies, Cpl. Carlos Brito, 39, and Deputy Manuel Santos, 31, were still in Tampa General Hospital Friday morning, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said Thursday that Brito might need to have his leg amputated. In a series of posts on X, formerly called Twitter, Chronister said Friday that Brito was “awake and surrounded by his family,” and that surgeons “are monitoring his progress and continue to do everything possible to save his leg.”

Chronister also posted a photo of Santos and his wife Chelsea in Santos’ hospital room.

“Deputy Santos has a bilateral break in his leg with extensive ligament damage and will require surgery,” Chronister said in the post. “He and his wife are in good spirits and TGH is taking great care of them.”

Also Friday, the sheriff’s office announced the creation of a fundraising effort for Brito and Santos through the Lynn Sowers Memorial Foundation. Funds raised will go toward “medical expenses, rehabilitation and any additional support needed for them and their families,” a sheriff’s office news release said.

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The incident began at 7:44 a.m. Thursday when Bouzy’s mother called 911. She said her son was being violent and irrational and kicking in doors throughout the house. Fearing for her safety, she asked that deputies be sent to help her, the sheriff said.

Brito and Santos arrived shortly thereafter outside the home at 1102 Dexwell Court, which is in a cul-de-sac in the sprawling Heather Lakes subdivision, south of Lumsden Road. They found Bouzy in the driver’s seat of a parked Nissan Altima. They tried to talk with Bouzy, but he drove away.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Carlos Brito, left, and Deputy Manuel "Manny" Santos are pictured in photos provided by the sheriff's office on Thursday.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Carlos Brito, left, and Deputy Manuel "Manny" Santos are pictured in photos provided by the sheriff's office on Thursday. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

But Bouzy soon returned. Two additional deputies were there by the time he pulled up. As Bouzy approached in the Nissan, the deputies had to jump between their patrol cars to avoid being hit. Back in the cul-de-sac, Bouzy sped up, aiming his car directly at the other two deputies, who stood next to a sheriff’s SUV, Chronister said.

The Nissan slammed into both Brito and Santos. Brito was pinned between the car and the sheriff’s SUV. Part of his thigh bone was stuck in the car. Santos also suffered severe leg injuries.

Hillsborough Judge Cynthia Oster presides Friday over a hearing for Ralph Bouzy, the suspect arrested Thursday in Brandon on three counts of attempted murder of a LEO.
Hillsborough Judge Cynthia Oster presides Friday over a hearing for Ralph Bouzy, the suspect arrested Thursday in Brandon on three counts of attempted murder of a LEO. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

Sheriff’s officials released surveillance videos taken from nearby homes, which show the moment that the car rammed into the pair, shoving them against a sheriff’s office SUV. Body camera footage from other deputies showed the driver stepping out of the car and walking toward the other deputies before being subdued with stun guns.

Records indicate that Bouzy has a history of mental illness. Hillsborough court records show his name linked with 18 mental health cases, including four that were filed this year. He also has five prior arrests, the most recent in 2018.

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.