A St. Petersburg man, Jamal Raeshad Hopkins, 31, was arrested late Monday night after allegedly leading police on a chase with a 5-year-old child in the car. The incident began when Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) troopers noticed an SUV driven by Hopkins unable to maintain its lane on the Veterans Expressway in Tampa. When troopers attempted to pull him over, Hopkins allegedly sped off.
The chase continued onto West Kennedy Blvd, where dashboard camera footage showed the SUV reversing into the patrol car while attempting a U-turn, causing a collision. The trooper then tried a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver, but the SUV hit the brakes, resulting in another collision between the vehicles. The SUV then sped back onto the expressway and exited at Independence Parkway.
However, the chase came to an end when the driver missed a curve and crashed into a concrete wall. Hopkins was subsequently pulled from the vehicle and placed under arrest. A 30-year-old woman from St. Petersburg, who was sitting in the passenger seat and identified as the owner of the SUV, was also detained at the scene.
During a search of the vehicle, law enforcement discovered a large quantity of cash, multiple cellphones, and what one trooper described as “a massive bag of weed.” The arrest report stated that Hopkins’ actions put the 5-year-old child at risk of bodily harm.
Hopkins now faces multiple charges, including two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, child neglect, kidnapping, possession of cannabis with intent to sell, reckless driving, reckless driving with property damage, fleeing to elude, and driving with a suspended or revoked license (his third offense).