SARASOTA, Fla. – Police in Florida have made an arrest after a Sarasota officer was struck and thrown over the top of a suspect vehicle that was fleeing from authorities.
Officers with the Sarasota Police Department responded to a call regarding a vehicle burglary in progress on Mourning Dove Drive about 2 p.m. on Monday. Police discovered video evidence and identified a white Mercedes as a suspect vehicle involved in the burglary, WWSB reported.
Later in the day, Longboat Key officers discovered the same white Mercedes was in a neighborhood on Fair Oaks Place about 5 p.m. after police responded to a vehicle theft from a residence at that location.
Shortly after 9 p.m. the Sarasota Police Department received a call that the white Mercedes had returned to Bird Key. Responding officers maneuvered their patrol units at the entrance in order to stop the Mercedes from exiting and arrest the suspect.
As the Mercedes approached the exit, the driver appeared to avoid police vehicles by hopping a curb before striking an officer head-on, and flipping him over the vehicle. The seriously injured officer was rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital with unspecified injuries.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic content.
Sarasota officers trailed the Mercedes away from Bird Key as it drove east on John Ringling Causeway, north on US 41, east on Fruitville, and was finally abandoned in the 2900 block of Orange Avenue. When police located the vehicle, they were unable to find the suspect.
However, tips came in that eventually led investigators to the suspect, who was identified as 22-year-old Mark Thomas, of Plantation, Florida, WWSB reported.
Thomas was arrested at a probation office in Broward County on Wednesday afternoon, police said. He was charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and flee to elude with disregard for safety.
Thomas has been convicted of multiple crimes since December 2019 and was released from prison on February 2, 2023. Previous charges include:
- Carrying a Concealed Firearm (x2) (December 2019 and July 2021)
- Grand Theft Auto (x2) (May 2021 and June 2021)
- Possession of Marijuana over 20 Grams (June 2021)
- Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling (May 2021)
- Cocaine Possession (July 2021)
The injured officer has since been released from the hospital and is now recovering at home.