BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Hillsborough County deputies are recovering from surgery Friday morning. Sheriff Chad Chronister said a man rammed his vehicle into Deputy Manny Santos and Corporal Carlos Brito, pinning them to a patrol car.
According to investigators, the two were responding to a call in Brandon about Ralph Bouzy. The 28-year-old’s family contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office saying he was going through a mental health crisis.
“When this call was dispatched, a red flag went up saying ‘Hey listen, this is an individual who has been violent toward law enforcement.'” Chronister said.
The sheriff said Bouzy initially drove away when deputies entered the Heather Lakes neighborhood, but he returned a short time later and intentionally hit Brito and Santos.
“Unfortunately, when they were struck, they were driven 10-15 feet into their car where they were pinned in between two cars as they were trying to escape for their lives,” Chronister said. Body camera video shows Bouzy exiting his vehicle unarmed.
Leaders with HCSO said both Brito and Santos have serious injuries to their legs, one so severe that his leg might have to be amputated. Deputy Santos has been with the sheriff’s office since 2019, Corporal Brito joined in 2013.
A records search reveals Bouzy has a lengthy criminal history, including a 2017 hit-and-run where he punched a deputy in the face. According to an HCSO spokesperson, he is in custody at the hospital.