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Vehicle chase leads to crash, injured officer

Amanda Varner, 24, of Sanford, N.C., was charged with multiple felonies by the Holmes Beach Police Department after a chase ended with Varner crashing into the Bradenton Beach police cruiser driven by Officer Eric Hill. Islander Photo: Courtesy Joan McArthur

Amanda L. Varner, 24

A Bradenton Beach police officer was in fair condition March 4 after a head-on collision March 2 with a fleeing suspect from North Carolina.

Amanda L. Varner, 24, of Sanford, N.C., was charged with multiple felonies by the Holmes Beach Police Department.

HBPD responded to the Island Shopping Center, 5400 Marina Drive, at approximately 3:45 p.m., having been notified by the Florida Highway Patrol that a vehicle stolen from North Carolina was in the parking lot.

Responding to HBPD’s call for assistance were Bradenton Beach and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the HBPD, Bradenton Beach patrol officer Eric Hill was traveling southbound on Holmes Boulevard, unaware the vehicle had fled the shopping center.

In an attempt to elude the HBPD, according to the police report, Varner drove around a marked emergency vehicle, fled northbound on Holmes Boulevard and crashed head-on into the Bradenton Beach police car, causing Hill serious injuries.

Hill, Varner and a passenger were transported to Blake Medical Center, according the report.

Bradenton Beach Detective Sgt. Leonard Diaz reported March 4 that Hill was in fair condition.

Varner was charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing to elude with great bodily injury to a law enforcement officer and driving while license suspended.

According to the police report, Varner had outstanding warrants from North Carolina.

Varner is being held in Manatee County jail on $24,000 bond on the charges.

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