SARASOTA, Fla. — Dramatic video released by the Sarasota Police Department shows an officer getting hit head-on by a car during a vehicle theft investigation.
Police first responded around 2 p.m. Monday to Mourning Dove Drive on Bird Key for reports that personal items were stolen from a car in the neighborhood.
Officers said they found video evidence leading them to believe the burglar was driving a white four-door S-Series Mercedes.
A few hours later, around 5 p.m., police said they learned that same white Mercedes was in a neighborhood on Longboat Key. It was spotted by Longboat Key police officers responding to reports of a car stolen from a home on Fair Oaks Place.
Just after 9 p.m., Sarasota police received a call that the white Mercedes had returned to Bird Key. Officers responded to the neighborhood, strategically placing their patrol cars at the entrance and exit to stop the Mercedes driver from leaving.
As police learned the Mercedes was heading toward them, one officer anticipated the driver would either turn onto a side street or crash into a patrol car. Instead, video shows the Mercedes driving past the parked patrol cars and hitting the officer head-on, sending him flipping over the windshield.
Another officer can be seen running to his aid while the Mercedes driver speeds away.
"It was horrific. It was terrible. We all gasped as we saw the officer jump about 4-6 inches off the ground and really save his own life," Sarasota Police Chief Rex Troche about the department's reaction to the video.
Police said they followed the Mercedes away from Bird Key as the driver headed east on the John Ringling Causeway, north on U.S. 41 and east on Fruitville Road before abandoning the car on Orange Avenue.
The officer was treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and is now home, where he is expected to fully recover. Troche said the officer was "in good spirits" when he spoke to him on Monday night.
The chief said the officer is recovering from a leg contusion and some soreness, but doctors don't believe there are any fractures at this time.
No arrests have been made. Police released a video of the Mercedes involved and images of the driver. According to Troche, the driver faces charges including attempted murder, fleeing to allude and burglary.