Lake Worth, FL – A veteran Delray Beach police officer was arrested for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and six other offenses after he allegedly interfered with firefighters who were actively fighting a blaze and nearly struck a sheriff’s deputy with his vehicle, according to police.
The incident began at approximately 2 p.m. on Oct. 2, when Palm Beach County Fire Rescue (PBCFR) received a report of a residential fire on Barberton Road, WPEC reported.
They responded to the scene and began battling a blaze that had ignited the roof of a shed behind a home, according to WPTV.
In addition to the PBCFR’s equipment and personnel, six to eight Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) deputies who responded to the scene also had their vehicles parked along the street.
As firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, first responders spotted a 2010 Mazda with a family inside pulling out of a nearby driveway, WPTV reported.
The driver was later identified as 42-year-old Delray Beach Police Officer Peter Sosa.
The roadway was not usable due to the firefighting equipment, which included a water line that was running to a hydrant, according to investigators.
The sheriff’s office said Officer Sosa was undeterred by the blockage, and instead drove his Mazda along a grassy swale and across his neighbors’ driveways as he attempted to drive around the equipment and hoses, WPTV reported.
Firefighters and deputies ran to his location and tried to stop him, at which point Officer Sosa allegedly began “revving the tires attempting to antagonize the deputies,” leaving “tire marks in the grass,” the PBSO’s report read.
The officer allegedly ignored deputies’ commands to stop and backed into his driveway, WPTV reported.
While his family bailed out of the vehicle, Officer Sosa jumped into a 2011 Ford Expedition and took off driving through the grass and his neighbor’s yards until he reached the street, the PBSO said.
He then allegedly punctured one of the fire hoses by running over it, thereby forcing the firefighters to briefly shut down their suppression effort, WPTV reported.
They were ultimately able to extinguish the blaze.
A PBSO deputy attempted to intercept Officer Sosa as he took off driving northbound on Barberton Road, but the veteran officer veered off of the road and into the grass in his continued attempt to flee the area, the sheriff’s office said.
A second deputy got out of her patrol unit and also tried to stop him, at which point Officer Sosa allegedly revved his engine “to accelerate towards her,” according to the PBSO report.
The deputy said she had to jump out of the way in order to avoid being hit by the SUV, WPTV reported.
Officer Sosa then allegedly went around the deputy’s patrol vehicle and off the roadway, again driving across the grass until he got back onto the street.
The deputy jumped back into her patrol car and chased after the officer’s vehicle as he sped down Lake Worth Road, WPTV reported.
At one point during the pursuit, Officer Sosa allegedly “slammed his brakes, causing the vehicle to go from 40 mph to an abrupt stop,” the PBSO said.
The deputy hit her brakes, resulting in them locking up and sending her into a skid.
She was able to swerve around Officer Sosa’s vehicle and avoided a collision, WPTV reported.
The officer ultimately stopped and was arrested on seven charges altogether, including felony aggravated assault on an officer, felony criminal mischief of $1,000 or more, and felony prevention or obstructing extinguishment of a fire.
Officer Sosa was also charged with four misdemeanor counts of failure to obey a law enforcement officer, WPTV reported.
He was released from jail later that same night after posting an $11,000 bond, according to WPEC.
But shortly after his release, he allegedly began sending emails to deputies involved in the incident, as well as the former spouse of the deputy who arrested him.
The judge ultimately modified Officer Sosa’s release conditions and prohibited him from having any contact with victims, witnesses, or their family members, WPTV reported.
He was also ordered to surrender his firearms to the PBSO.
Officer Sosa’s arraignment hearing has been set for Oct. 21, WPTV reported.
Delray Beach Police Department Spokesperson Ted White said the 12-year department veteran was placed on administrative leave after his arrest.