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Car chase leads to arrest of teens
By REBECCA CATALANELLO
Published June 14, 2007
PLANT CITY - Two teenagers played a dangerous game of chicken with deputies on Interstate 4 Wednesday before crashing a rental car into a guardrail and being arrested.
Deputies say Christopher Gonzalez, 16, was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Impala west on U.S. 92 when a Hillsborough sheriff's deputy tried to make a traffic stop after noticing that the car veered into another lane.
The car sped up. As the deputy accelerated to follow the Impala, Gonzalez slammed on his brakes, said sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter. The deputy avoided crashing into the back of the Impala, and pulled up beside the car. The teen then tried to ram the deputy's cruiser, Carter said.
The deputy evaded the car, and chased the teenagers for six minutes until the car crashed on Interstate 4 west of County Line Road.
Gonzalez, of 8903 Franklin Road in Plant City, and passenger Ruben Rodriguez, 17, of 1414 Sparkman Road in Plant City, were taken into custody.
In the vehicle, deputies found a fully loaded 40-caliber pistol as well as methamphetamine and marijuana.
Gonzalez is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing to elude, armed possession of methamphetamine, carrying a concealed firearm, delinquent in possession of firearm, possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license.
Rodriguez, who Carter said is a member of the Sur 13 gang, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. After the accident, Rodriguez was taken to South Florida Baptist Hospital, where he was treated and released into deputy custody.