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Courts / Law

Hillsborough Deputy Escapes With Minor Injuries From Near Head-On With Suspected Drunk

Routine patrol early Sunday morning turned out to be anything but for Hillsborough Deputy Juan Lazu.

Around 1:00 a.m. he was hit nearly head-on by a driver in a Ford Excursion going the wrong way with his lights off on Bearss Avenue westbound near the Jimmy B. Keel Public Library. 

The impact sent the squad car spinning and Deputy Lazu was able to radio for help.  Other deputies pulled him from the squad car before it and the Ford exploded and burst into flames.  Deputy Lazu had minor injuries and is expected to recover fully and get back to work. 

Driver Angel Pena was treated and released from St. Joseph's Hospital and then arrested.  He was charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take a blood-alcohol test.  Deputies say he had a "strong odor" of alcohol.