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Largo briefs: Animal cruelty charges follow dogs' deaths in fire

A Dunedin man faces animal cruelty charges in connection with a bizarre incident in which deputies say he showed up at his ex-girlfriend's Indian Rocks Beach home and set his SUV on fire with two dogs inside.

The two Labrador retrievers, Honey and Sweetie, died as a result of the injuries they suffered in the Jan. 24 blaze.

That day, John A. Paulette III, 41, of 2535 Marquis Drive put the dogs and four propane tanks in his Ford Explorer and drove to his ex-girlfriend's home, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies say.

The ex-girlfriend called authorities about 7 a.m. because Paulette had parked in the driveway and refused to leave, according to a sheriff's report.

As deputies tried to stop him, Paulette poured gasoline on himself and his vehicle, officials said. Then he set himself on fire inside the car.

Paulette got out of the vehicle through the back window. His dogs were trapped inside, the report said.

Jonathan Abel, Times staff writer

PALM HARBOR

Cabbie charged with DUI after crash into deputy

A cabbie whose taxi crashed into the patrol cruiser of a veteran Pinellas County sheriff's sergeant has been charged with causing a DUI crash resulting in serious bodily injury and property damage.

Lloyd Melvin Younglove, 58, of Clearwater, had a blood alcohol content of 0.21 — more than twice the level at which Florida law presumes a driver to be impaired — the night of Feb. 27, when his taxi hit an unmarked cruiser driven by Sgt. John Pikramenos, officials said.

The crash occurred at U.S. 19 N at Winding Creek Boulevard. Pikramenos, 53, had a shattered knee cap and broken femur.

Younglove sustained serious injuries that required surgery, officials said. Younglove turned himself in at the Pinellas County Jail on April 17 and was being held in lieu of $5,250 bail.

Times staff writer

CLEARWATER

Clearwater man dies from crash injuries

A Clearwater man has died following an April 3 crash in which a sport utility vehicle fleeing from police smashed into another SUV and then slammed into a building in downtown Clearwater, officials said.

Randy Lee Sparklin, 45, of Belleair Bluffs, got a loaner 2007 Nissan Pathfinder from a dealership and put a stolen license plate on it, police said.

Police tried to make a traffic stop and Sparklin fled, they said. At the intersection of Court Street and S Prospect Avenue, police say he hit another SUV.

Sparklin was charged with aggravated stalking and reckless driving, among other charges.

One of the passengers of the SUV that was hit, Odysseas Liakopoulos of 400 Island Way, Unit 711, died on April 11.

Clearwater police said it would be up to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office to decide whether to upgrade or add charges against Sparklin.

Times staff writer

Largo briefs: Animal cruelty charges follow dogs' deaths in fire 04/19/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2008 8:09pm]
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