PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Pinellas Park Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a driver who is accused of hitting and dragging an officer with his motorcycle during a traffic stop Tuesday morning.
Police said officers were monitoring traffic, as part of their "hands free" enforcement and education campaign, around 11 a.m. along 118th Avenue when they saw a motorcycle speeding.
After spotting the motorcycle, an officer followed him to the red light for westbound 118th Ave and U.S. Highway 19 N. While stopped at the red light, the officer got out of his vehicle in an attempt to stop the motorcycle driver.
Initially, the motorcyclist complied and turned off the motorcycle while moving to the side of the roadway. But police said while moving the motorcycle, the driver suddenly started the motorcycle and accelerated toward the officer.
The officer reacted by grabbing the driver and trying to remove him from the motorcycle. During his attempt, the motorcyclist "accelerated rapidly," which caused the officer to be hit and dragged across several lanes of 118th Ave.
"The motorcycle driver failed to stop after injuring our officer and was last observed traveling south on US Highway 19 N Frontage Rd from Bryan Dairy/118th Ave N," police said in a release.
"He was able to get up and the first thing he looked for was his glasses that came off and he was able to find them with the help of some citizens," said Pinellas Park Police Sgt. John Shea.
The officer was transported to a local hospital for injuries to his upper body, but has since been released and is recovering at home.
"It’s always a large safety concern that’s one of my employees that’s one of my coworkers and you always fear for their safety luckily he was able to communicate on the radio safely and I was able to know he’s up and moving which is a big thing," said Shea.
The motorcycle is described as a black sport bike with a stretched swing arm. The rider was a white male wearing a black jacket, black helmet and khaki pants.
The motorcycle driver is facing charges of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.
"We’re just looking for this subject to turn himself in. If he had stayed there it’d be a totally different situation," said Shea.
If anyone has any knowledge if this incident, please contact the Pinellas Park Police Department at 727-369-7864. Those wishing to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County at 800-873-TIPS (8477) and may be eligible for a cash reward.