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Drunk driver crashes into HCSO patrol car in Valrico

A drunk driver was arrested for crashing into a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office patrol unit Saturday in Valrico, authorities say.

At 4:43 a.m., Cole Gatlin, 21, was traveling eastbound on 60 Highway East, through the North Valrico Road intersection, when his 2018 white Ford Taurus struck the left back side of a marked HCSO 2016 Dodge Charger located in the center lane, deputies said.

Two deputies were inside the patrol unit at the time of the crash. They were not injured.

After the initial collision, the Taurus struck the back of a 2013 white Toyota Sequoia.

According to HCSO, Gatlin showed signs of impairment as he exited his vehicle and was arrested at the scene after failing the Field Sobriety Exercises. He provided a lawful breath sample which revealed his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit: .181% and .168% BAC, respectively.

Gatlin admitted to deputies he consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel and despite feeling its effects, continued to drive.

He was charged with Driving Under the Influence with Property Damage Over 0.15.

“We are beyond grateful our deputies and the driver of the Toyota Sequoia walked away from this accident with no injuries, because we all know this could have had a tragic outcome,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This 21-year-old’s irresponsible behavior will not go unpunished and I sincerely hope he considers himself lucky all those involved, including himself, survived.”

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