Driver Accused of DUI After Crashing into Hillsborough Deputy’s Car
A one-year-old baby was riding in a car seat in the back of the accused driver’s car at the time of the crash.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – A Land O’ Lakes man was accused of drunken driving after he hit a marked sheriff’s car, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
A one-year-old child was riding in a car seat in the back of his car at the time of the crash. The child was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital-Main by emergency medical services to be evaluated as a precaution. The child did not appear to suffer any injuries as a result of the crash.
Donald Leon Whitfield, 29, of Land O’ Lakes, was charged with one count each of of Driving Under the Influence Accompanied by a Person under the Age of 18, DUI with Property Damage or Personal Injury (second conviction), Driving with a Suspended License, Violation of Probation (prior DUI), and Child Neglect. Deputies also contacted the Florida Abuse Hotline. Deputies said he showed signs of impairment and his breath sample indicated a .171 BAC.
Just before 1 a.m. Tuesday (Aug. 18), a marked HCSO Dodge Charger was being used to block traffic on the inside lane of Nebraska Avenue, just south of Bearss Avenue, as deputies were helping the Florida Highway Patrol on an unrelated traffic crash. Emergency lights and the left arrow signal were activated on the patrol vehicle as the deputy was working outside the car at the time.
Whitfield was driving an Oldsmobile Alero south on Nebraska Avenue and failed to observe the crash ahead of him. Deputies said he struck the front left side of the patrol car causing minor damage to the Charger. Whitfield’s vehicle was more severely damaged and the airbag was deployed.
“This driver’s irresponsible decision to drive intoxicated not only put the lives of our deputies and other drivers at risk but also the life of an innocent young child,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “What’s worse is that his prior arrest for DUI shows he has made these poor choices in the past. I am thankful that no one was injured and that we were able to take Donald Whitfield off of the streets and put him in jail where he can no longer get behind the wheel of a vehicle.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.
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