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Squad cars hit; driver arrested

Sheriff's deputies say the man fled on foot after his car crashed into a pole. A passenger was also arrested.

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 3, 2002

TAMPA -- A 22-year-old driver rammed two cruisers Saturday as he tried to escape from Hillsborough County deputies at Falkenburg Road and Lynn Avenue, authorities said.

Kentwain Francis, 22, and Eric Samson, 31, a passenger, were arrested after their vehicle hit a pole, said Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

Carter said that just before 2 p.m., Deputy John Hall stopped a Dodge Stratus for having an unreadable temporary tag.

As he got out of his car, the Dodge moved forward, turned around, and hit a backup squad car that was just arriving.

The Dodge then hit Hall's vehicle and headed north on Falkenburg. It hit a minivan while turning west onto Broadway Avenue.

After the vehicle crashed into a pole, the occupants tried to run, Carter said.

A police dog sniffed out Francis, who was hiding under a mobile home, authorities said. He was charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer, and aggravated fleeing and eluding.

Samson of 3603 Phillips St. in Tampa was charged with resisting arrest without violence.

A 16-year-old boy who also was a passenger in the car did not run and was not charged, Carter said.

No injuries were reported.

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