A suspect accused of ramming his car into two sheriff’s deputies is mentally incompetent to proceed in court, a Florida judge ruled Wednesday.
A 28-year-old with an extensive rap sheet drove his car into two Hillsborough County deputies in a surprise attack on Nov. 9 in Brandon, Florida, seriously injured the officers, according to police. But after reviewing a doctor’s report, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Mark Kiser ruled that the suspect, Ralph Bouzy, would be committed to a secure facility for mental health treatment until he’s deemed well enough to proceed in court, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“There is no other way to describe this other than an ambush,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement following the attack. “Our deputies put their lives on the line every day to protect this community and what happened today makes me absolutely sick.”
Hillsborough Public Defender Julianne Holt filed a motion stating that Bouzy had “schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type” and couldn’t understand the charges he faces, including three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Kiser’s decision delays Bouzy’s prosecution until he can stand trial.
Just before 8 a.m. on Nov. 9, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a woman who said her son was acting violently and that she feared for her safety, according to police. Two deputies were dispatched and found Bouzy sitting in a vehicle in the driveway.
The Florida deputies attempted to approach him and offer assistance, but the suspect drove away. He returned to the scene, accelerated and rammed into the deputies while they were standing outside their patrol vehicle, according to the sheriff’s department.
The deputies involved in the ambush, Cpl. Carlos Brito and Deputy Manuel Santos, were sent to Tampa General Hospital with “serious, critical injuries” following the attack, according to the sheriff’s department. Santos had a broken leg and went through multiple surgeries, but was released on Nov. 11.
Brito’s injuries were more severe and faced the risk of having his leg amputated, Chronister said in a Nov. 11 news conference. He left the hospital Tuesday, able to keep the leg, and would continue treatment at a rehabilitation facility, the sheriff’s department wrote on X.
A State Attorney’s Office spokesperson declined to comment since the case is pending. Neither Holt nor the sheriff’s department immediately responded to a request for comment.