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Driver Intentionally Hits Florida Sheriff’s Deputy, Seriously Injuries Both Legs

By Tony Marrero
Tampa Bay Times

TAMPA, Fla. — Police have arrested a man they say intentionally ran over a Hillsborough sheriff’s deputy in Tampa last week.

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On Monday, officers arrested William Todd Lewis Jr., 24, of Pasco County in connection with the incident at Tampa Palms that left Deputy Kalin Hall with serious injuries to both legs.

Lewis, of Tampa, was driving a rental car with a friend, and investigators believe he was trying to leave the area to avoid arrest, Sheriff Chad Chronister said Tuesday during a hearing. press conference in Tampa.

“He knew his time was up, the show was over and his only option was to escape, so he was going to try to sneak out,” Chronister said.

Officers also arrested Lewis’ girlfriend, Keilise Garrison, 23, on charges of accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence. Garrison spoke to Lewis on the phone the night of the incident, called his mother to pick him up and then deleted the text messages from her phone, officers said.

Chronister said Lewis was the person behind the wheel of a black BMW that Hall stopped about 12:05 a.m. Friday on Bearss Avenue near Nebraska Avenue. Hall, a K-9 handler for the sheriff’s office, was working after-hours on a DUI patrol that night and noticed the BMW driver was not staying in his lane, Chronister said.

Body camera video Documents released by the sheriff’s office show the driver of the BMW stopped and then drove away as Hall walked toward the car.

About 20 minutes later, Hall spotted a BMW backing into a parking space on Plantation Oaks Drive in Tampa Palms, Chronister said. When Hall got out of his cruiser, the BMW driver hit him and sped away.

Body camera footage shows the BMW hitting Hall as he exits the car. Hall can be heard screaming for help over the radio.

“He ran me over!” Hall says. “I need an ambulance 10-6. I have a broken leg!”

Hall, 33, was taken to Tampa General Hospital with a broken leg and a broken ankle on his other leg.

“Showing zero respect for human life, believing that his evasion of arrest was more important than the life of this deputy, he intentionally put his vehicle in gear, hit the gas and ran over the deputy, leaving him lying on the side of the road like a wounded dog,” Chronister said of Lewis on Tuesday.

After hitting Hall, Lewis called Garrison, told her what he had done and asked for help. Lewis left his car in a parking lot about a mile from the crash, Chronister said. Garrison called Lewis’ mother and said he needed her to pick him up.

Lewis’s mother picked him up and brought him home. Within hours, officers went to the home and questioned Lewis, Chronister said.

“He showed no remorse whatsoever, just denial,” Chronister said.

Lewis said he didn’t know where the BMW keys or phone were, but investigators obtained a warrant to search the home and found the keys and phone on a nightstand next to Lewis’ bed, Chronister said.

Investigators gathered more evidence and obtained an arrest warrant for Lewis on Monday. A surveillance team that watched Lewis saw his friend pick him up, rent a car, drive home and pack the rental car.

“Our surveillance team contacts us and says, ‘Hey, I think it’s going into the abyss. I think it’s going away,'” Chronister said.

Lewis and his friend drove north to Pasco County, with the friend driving and Lewis in the passenger seat. When they stopped at a shopping center, Hillsborough officers, with the help of Pasco officers, arrested both men. Chronister said Lewis told officers the money his mother gave him was in the rental car and that he wanted an attorney.

Chronister said Hall did not see the driver who hit him, but investigators collected enough evidence, including cellphone data, to charge Lewis.

Lewis is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury, careless driving resulting in serious bodily injury, fleeing to elude law enforcement resulting in serious bodily injury, fleeing to elude law enforcement and possession of marijuana.

Officers arrested the driver of the rental car, 24-year-old Zachoiry J. Carnegie, on drug possession charges after he was found in possession of Xanax tablets that were not prescribed to him, Chronister reported.

Chronister said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests may be made.

Hall, an 11-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and a former University of South Florida center fielder, underwent surgery to have a rod inserted into his leg on Friday and was released from the hospital on Saturday.

Video released by the sheriff’s office shows him leaning on a walker as his friends and supporters applaud.

“Because it was the Fourth of July, you know we want to keep our community safe and try to get impaired drivers off the road, so that’s what I was doing,” he said. “Of course, the traffic stop turned out to be a lot more serious than I expected.”

Hall said the second time he saw the BMW, he drove up to it in an unmarked police car.

“It was an opportunity that presented itself to try to block the car,” he said. “I expected the driver to flee on foot. I didn’t expect the car to accelerate and go around the back of the car until it was too late. So I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I am very grateful and thankful to this man for saving me,” he said.

Hall said he is grateful for the support from friends, family, coworkers and the community and hopes to return to work with his K-9 partner in about four months.

“The bitch is waiting for me at home, she can’t wait to get back to work,” he said.

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