This is a developing story. We will update it as more information is released.
5:40 p.m. March 22
Mark Thomas, 22, of Plantation has been arrested and is facing charges of felony aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer (felony) and felony flee to elude with disregard for safety in connection to a hit-and-run crash that left a Sarasota Police officer injured on Monday night.
Thomas was arrested at a probation office in Broward County on Wednesday afternoon.
He has been convicted of multiple crimes since December 2019 and was released from prison on Feb. 2, 2023. Previous charges include:
Carrying a concealed firearm.
Grand theft auto.
Possession of marijuana over 20 grams.
Burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.
1:30 p.m. March 21
A Sarasota Police patrol officer is recovering after being struck by a vehicle Monday night. Police responded to a vehicle burglary call on Bird Key at 2 p.m. Monday, speaking with victims who said personal items were stolen from their vehicle.
Officers discovered video evidence that showed a suspect driving a white, four-door S Series Mercedes, matching one that was reported stolen earlier Monday from a neighborhood on Longboat Key. Then at 9 p.m. Monday, SPD received a call that the same white Mercedes had returned to Bird Key.
Officers set up a roadblock at the entrance to Bird Key to stop the vehicle from leaving. The suspect drove past the parked vehicles and struck the officer, flipping him over the hood of the car and onto the ground. The officer was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and has since been released and is expected to recover fully.
Police followed the Mercedes away from Bird Key as it drove east on John Ringling Causeway, north on U.S. 41, then east on Fruitville Road before being abandoned in the 2900 block of Orange Avenue.
When officers arrived, no one was in the vehicle. No suspect has been arrested at this time. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Det. Kim Laster at 941-263-6827 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at sarasotacrimestoppers.com.
Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.