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Driver of stolen car plows into Manatee County deputy, video shows

Authorities say Katarina Vanfossen is charged with second-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

BRADENTON, Fla. — A 23-year-old woman is accused of driving into a deputy with a stolen car.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office says it happened Wednesday on the south side of the stereo store at 30th Ave East and 1st Street in Bradenton.

Authorities had been searching for the stolen white Ford Taurus after they say the driver managed to get away from them following a crash earlier in the day. 

The sheriff's office's aviation unit managed to track it down, but deputies say the driver tried to get away again as they moved in.

One deputy parked her unmarked car in the path of the stolen car, then got out and began giving commands to the driver who had begun to reverse away. But, seconds later, investigators say that driver "rapidly accelerated" and plowed into the deputy with the stolen car.

The deputy ended up on the hood and windshield, as the driver of the stolen car hit another deputy's parked cruiser, according to law enforcement. The abrupt stop sent the first deputy flying off the stolen car and onto the pavement.

In a news conference on Thursday, Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said the detective was propelled several hundred feet.

"She's lucky to be alive," Wells said.

The deputy was taken to a local hospital with "various injuries." But, authorities say she is in good condition and expected to be released Thursday.

The driver of the stolen car, who authorities have identified as Katarina Vanfossen, got out and was quickly arrested, according to law enforcement. 

Vanfossen was charged with motor vehicle theft, fleeing to elude, and second-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. She also faces a charge of leaving the scene of a crash.

Sheriff Rick Wells expressed his anger about the situation during Thursday's news conference. He said that Vanfossen wasn't thinking of anyone but herself as she tried to get away, adding that he would do everything in his power to make sure that she "does her time."

"She needs to be put in prison," Wells said.

The Sheriff also mentioned he was aggravated with the "continued violence against law enforcement officers" seen across the country. "I'm sick of it," he said.

Credit: Manatee County Sheriff's Office
Katarina Vanfossen MUG

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