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Fla. Deputy Seriously Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. -- A Pasco County deputy involved in a head-on car crash early Wednesday morning in Wesley Chapel has been upgraded to fair condition at a local hospital.

Pasco Deputy Darren R. Hill, 29, of Wesley Chapel, suffered two broken legs in addition to a broken arm and had to be airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. At the time he was in serious condition, which has since been upgraded, according to officials at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Hill did undergo surgery Thursday, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

About 4:22 a.m. Wednesday, Hill was in his marked 2011 Chevrolet Impala cruiser driving west on State Road 54 near Loury Drive in Wesley Chapel, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Bertin Jaimes, 25, of 5230 4th St., Zephyrhills, was eastbound in a 2002 Ford F-150 when the truck crossed the center line of the road and struck the cruiser, trooper said.

The head-on collision caused Hill to be trapped in the wreckage. The deputy, whose two-year anniversary with the sheriff's office is Jan. 9, was unable to speak following the crash, but did activate an emergency signal to alert other deputies.

Jaimes was arrested about seven hours later and charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of a crash with serious injury, driving with an expired license and driving left of center.

Paperwork inside Jaimes' truck led troopers to a Land O' Lakes address where Jaimes was found about 11:30 a.m.

Four others were also arrested and charged with obstructing the investigation.

Jaimes' wife, Gladys Patricia Soto, 24, of 4747 6th St., Zephyrhills, told deputies she didn't know of her husband's whereabouts when questioned by deputies and said she did not pick him up following the crash, according to an arrest report.

She later said she lied because she was scared, the report said.

Soto and her father, Raymundo Soto, 54, who lives at the 9811 Pangola Loop home where the driver was arrested, drove to pick up Bertin Jaimes after the crash, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office. Once at Raymundo Soto's home, he told Jaimes he should turn himself in, deputies said.

Soto originally told deputies he was not aware of the incident or where Jaimes was located.

Raymundo Soto and Gladys Soto were released Thursday after each posted a $150 bond.

Jose Carmen Jaimes, 29, the brother of the suspect, and his wife, Jazmin Sanchez Aguirre, 21, were also arrested.

Jose Carmen Jaimes remains in the Land O' Lakes Jail and is on hold for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while his wife also remains in custody and being held for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Bertin Jaimes also remains in the Land O' Lakes with no bond. He also is being held for INS.

edaniels@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1860

Twitter: @EDanielsTBO

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