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Man who struck Hillsborough deputies with car is incompetent for trial, judge rules

A judge on Wednesday declared that Ralph Bouzy, 28, should be committed to a secure facility for mental health treatment.
 
In this image from body camera video, two Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies are seen on the ground as suspect Ralph Bouzy walks from his Nissan Altima after striking the deputies on Nov. 9 in Brandon. A judge on Wednesday declared Bouzy mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered that he should be committed to a secure facility for mental health treatment.
In this image from body camera video, two Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies are seen on the ground as suspect Ralph Bouzy walks from his Nissan Altima after striking the deputies on Nov. 9 in Brandon. A judge on Wednesday declared Bouzy mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered that he should be committed to a secure facility for mental health treatment. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Dec. 6, 2023|Updated Dec. 6, 2023

TAMPA — A judge has declared that the man accused of intentionally slamming a car into a pair of Hillsborough County deputies last month is mentally incompetent to proceed in court.

In a brief court hearing Wednesday morning, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Mark Kiser, after reviewing a doctor’s report, ordered that Ralph Bouzy be committed to a secure facility for mental health treatment.

The ruling does not mean Bouzy, who faces several charges, including three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, won’t face prosecution.

Rather, he will be moved to a state hospital to undergo mental health treatment until he is deemed well enough to return to court.

Bouzy, 28, was not present in court for Wednesday’ hearing.

Ralph Bouzy, pictured in his Hillsborough County booking photo after his arrest, will be moved to a state hospital to undergo mental health treatment until he is deemed well enough to return to court.
Ralph Bouzy, pictured in his Hillsborough County booking photo after his arrest, will be moved to a state hospital to undergo mental health treatment until he is deemed well enough to return to court. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

According to information previously released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Bouzy’s mother called 911 on Nov. 9 and said her son was acting violent and irrational at their Brandon home. Fearing for her safety, she asked that deputies be sent.

When Cpl. Carlos Brito and Deputy Manuel “Manny” Santos arrived outside the home, they found Bouzy in the driver’s seat of a parked Nissan Altima. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the deputies tried to deescalate the situation, but Bouzy ignored them and drove away. Bouzy returned and nearly hit two additional deputies who arrived at the scene, then sped up and aimed his car at Santos and Brito, who stood next to a sheriff’s SUV, according to the sheriff’s office.

Brito was pinned between the Nissan and sheriff’s SUV. Both deputies suffered serious leg injuries and were rushed to Tampa General Hospital.

In a motion filed last month by Hillsborough public defender Julianne Holt’s office, Bouzy’s attorneys said they believe his mental health issues prevent him from understanding the charges against him and the penalties that could be imposed, among other aspects of the criminal justice process.

The motion states that Bouzy has been diagnosed with “schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.”

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue personnel load Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Carlos Brito into an ambulance at Tampa General Hospital on Wednesday to take him to an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue personnel load Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Carlos Brito into an ambulance at Tampa General Hospital on Wednesday to take him to an inpatient rehabilitation facility. [ Hillsborough County Fire Rescue ]
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Santos was released from the hospital on Nov. 11.

Brito was released on Tuesday. A Facebook post by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue shows personnel wheeling Brito from the hospital to a waiting ambulance to take him “to his rehabilitation destination.”

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said Brito will undergo rehabilitation at an inpatient facility.

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.