Drivers spread spilled diesel along U.S. 19
Up to 50 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled Friday morning on U.S. 19, creating a mess that temporarily closed two lanes of traffic. The spill originally centered around the intersection of Ridge Road and U.S. 19, but cars tracked the fuel north toward Gulf View Square mall and south into Pinellas County, said Emergency Management operations coordinator Jim Johnston. Crews shut down two southbound lanes of U.S. 19 near Ridge Road for more than an hour while hazardous materials workers sopped up 8 to 10 gallons. But Johnston estimated another 20 to 40 gallons might remain strewn across the highway. He cautioned cars driving through the area to be careful of the diesel still on the road. The truck that spilled the fuel has not been found. Johnston said he believes it is somewhere south of the spill.
Masked gunman robs Chase Bank
Authorities are searching for the man who robbed a Chase Bank at gunpoint shortly before noon Friday. The man entered the bank at 3320 U.S. 19, pointed the gun at the bank tellers and demanded money, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. He escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash, and was last seen traveling south on foot behind the bank. Dispatchers received the call at 11:44 a.m. He is described as a black man dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt, black pants, black gloves and a black ski mask. Anyone with information is asked to call the Pasco Sheriff's Office Crime Tips Line, toll-free, at 1-800-706-2488.
Help sought in missing man case
Pasco deputies are asking the public's help in finding a man who has been missing for almost three months. Richard "Rick" Persing, 45, left his home at 6249 Ryerson Circle on April 20, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. He took a duffel bag with two changes of clothes, and left a note saying he was going fishing. His family has not heard from him since. Persing is an experienced trucker and traveler, but does not have a valid driver's license, authorities said. He has suffered recent hardships and has been depressed. Authorities consider him a missing endangered person. Anyone who may have seen Persing may contact Detective David Boyer at (352) 518-5002 with any information.
Pasco trio arrested in Palm Harbor
Three Pasco County residents, accused of being part of a prescription drug ring, are arrested at a Palm Harbor pharmacy. Story, Page 4