Florida deputy found hiding in ditch after fleeing wrong-way crash

Vehicle allegedly involved in a wrong-way hit and run crash on I-75. (Photo: FHP)

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An off-duty Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested after allegedly driving the wrong way on Interstate 75 Friday morning, the sheriff’s office says.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, 29-year-old Justin Garrett of St. Petersburg, was located hiding in a ditch on the side of the road after striking a tractor trailer.

FHP says a complaint was received about a vehicle driving southbound in the northbound lanes of I-75 near the Hillsborough-Manatee county line around 3:30 a.m. Friday. Around the same time, dispatchers got a call about an SUV driving the wrong way and hitting a tractor trailer.

Troopers arrived on scene to investigate. The truck driver was not injured in the crash. He described the wrong-way vehicle as a small SUV that suffered significant damage from striking the tractor trailer.

Troopers continued south on I-75, and eventually located the vehicle abandoned on the inside shoulder of I-75 at mile marker 232, facing south in the northbound lanes.

The owner of the SUV, identified as Garrett, was found nearby in a grass ditch attempting to hide, according to FHP. Garrett was arrested and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of a crash.

According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Garrett is a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy who has been with the department since October 2011. He been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

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