Toddler drowns in his family's pool
A 1 1/2-year-old Seminole boy accidentally drowned in his family's pool, Pinellas sheriff's deputies said Saturday.
Dominick Lawrence was found in the water in the 8000 block of Seminole Boulevard about 10 a.m., deputies said. Dominick's family began looking for him after his 8-year-old sister awoke and couldn't find him, deputies said. When they discovered him in the pool, Dominick was unresponsive. His parents tried CPR, but were unsuccessful. Dominick was pronounced dead at Largo Medical Center, deputies said. The pool had a chain-link fence around it, but the latch was not secure, investigators found. Deputies are continuing their investigation but said it appears that no charges will be filed.
Police officer injured during traffic stop
A Clearwater police officer conducting a traffic stop on the Courtney Campbell Parkway was rammed by the car and suffered minor injuries late Friday, according to police.
It happened at 11:37 p.m. on the eastbound causeway about a mile and a half east of Bayshore Boulevard, Clearwater police said. Officer Kent Reeves had stopped David Valentin, 21, of Tampa for suspicion of speeding and was approaching the driver's side door when Valentin suddenly made a U-turn, striking Reeves as he swerved toward the westbound lanes, police said.
Other officers chased Valentin to 2266 Gulf to Bay Blvd., where he crashed into a fence and mobile home, police said. Valentin ran away, and officers used a police dog to search for him. Reeves was treated at Morton Plant Hospital and released, police said.
Valentin was charged with two counts of aggravated fleeing and eluding, criminal mischief, obstruction of justice, burglary and driving with a suspended license. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail Saturday in lieu of $37,650 bail.
Government travel drops like a stone
State agencies cut their travel expenses by 48 percent over a four-year span through the budget year ending in June, a legislative report says.
The report released Friday by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability says travel spending in 2009-10 dropped to $55 million.
State employees are doing multiple tasks on each trip, driving instead of flying, simply traveling less and making more use of electronic conferences.
Times staff, wires