TAMPA, Florida. Two Florida Highway Patrol officers were hospitalized with injuries after an accident that occurred while they were chasing a man on I-75 NB on Wednesday afternoon.
FHP reports that around 3:17 p.m., military personnel attempted to stop the man, who was driving a 2009 BMW SUV, on I-4 near Tonotosassa Road. Wilfredo Cordova Diaz, 35, is said not to have stopped, sparking a chase that started on I-4 and then drove north on I-75.
FHP said the driver drove into a grass median south of Fletcher Avenue while trying to turn around. The soldiers also entered the median grass. However, a K-9 unit traveling in a Chevy Tahoe failed to brake and collided with the rear of another FHP K-9 unit, a Ford Explorer.
WATCH: 2 FHPs Crashed on I-75, 3 Lane Blocked
According to FHP, Tahoe turned around and came to a stop on a paved shoulder. The Explorer rolled over and landed on a grassy strip.
According to official figures, both soldiers received injuries incompatible with life and were taken to a local hospital. Both K-9s suffered minor injuries and were taken to a local veterinarian where they were treated and released.
Two northbound lanes were closed off near Fletcher Avenue while officials investigate the accident. All lanes were open at 18:11.
According to the FHP, Diaz was captured when his SUV broke down in the middle.
Soldiers say he was taken to the Hillsborough County Jail, where he was charged with running away and tax evasion, driving a car with disqualification as a common delinquent, and possessing one kilogram of cocaine, which was found in his SUV.
James Anderson of Hernando County was driving home from work when he witnessed the chase and the ensuing crash.
“I was in the fast lane and when I looked in my, you know, mirror, I didn’t see anything but dust, and I didn’t understand anything,” he said. “It was a chase, and then, all of a sudden, the soldier was upside down. In five seconds.”
He believes that the suspect Diaz should be held accountable for his actions.
“You know, I can’t even figure out what he was supposed to get because he could have killed a bunch of people,” Anderson said. “I can’t even put into words how someone can be so stupid, so selfish, and put so many people at risk, you know, driving like this.”