St. Petersburg, Florida -- A St. Petersburg police officer is in the hospital after a series of car chases and crashes.
Early March 24, around 12: 30 a.m., the St. Petersburg Police Department investigated a call of auto theft at the Chevron gas station located at 1st Avenue South and 34th Street South.
According to reports, an unknown suspect stole a white 2002 Cadillac Deville when the driver of the vehicle left it unattended with the keys inside and the engine running.
At about 1:03 a.m., an officer driving in the area of 8th Avenue South and 43rd Street South was looking for the stolen Cadillac when a silver Kia swerved into oncoming traffic and intentionally drove at the police officer, striking his vehicle.
The Kia caused minor damage to the police officer's cruiser and fled away. The officer was not injured.
Supervisors authorized a pursuit of the silver Kia since it had committed an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
Reportedly, a police officer who was not involved in the pursuit was driving his marked patrol cruiser eastbound on 54th Avenue South; the officer was moving into the area to assist the other officers involved in the pursuit of the silver Kia.
At 54th Avenue South and 19th Way South, another vehicle pulled-out in front of the marked police cruiser, either from a private drive or a side street, causing the police officer to swerve to avoid a collision.
The police officer struck a telephone pole, cutting the pole in two, causing the marked patrol cruiser to flip upside down, pinning the officer inside of his vehicle.
The officer has been transported to a local hospital with a serious injury, but the officer's condition is not life-threatening.