BROOKSVILLE — Beef O'Brady's on Horse Lake Road will host a barbecue picnic Sunday to raise money for the family of Hernando Deputy John Mecklenburg, who was killed after his vehicle crashed during a high-speed chase in July.
Organizers have asked that people bring their own chairs. In case of rain, the picnic will be at the Hernando County Fairgrounds on Broad Street.
Beef O'Brady's general manager Dan Heavrin said he hopes to raise at least $5,000 for Mecklenburg's widow, Penny, and her two young children.
"This was his Beef O'Brady's," Heavrin said of Mecklenburg. "That's how we got involved."
Mecklenburg, 35, died July 3 in a Tampa hospital, hours after he lost control of his patrol car in Pasco County and hit a tree as he pursued Michael James Anthony, who had been seen traveling the wrong way on Broad Street in Brooksville.
Minutes before Mecklenburg's crash, investigators say, Anthony rammed Hernando Sgt. Brandon Ross, forcing him to crash into a pickup and a power pole in Masaryktown and causing minor injuries. Anthony later pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted felony murder and attempted second-degree murder.
After leaving Hernando, investigators say, Anthony continued south through Pasco and Hillsborough counties and into Pinellas until he was arrested on Fourth Street N, near Interstate 275, in St. Petersburg at 5:09 a.m.
A government worker who monitors traffic cameras in Pinellas also saw Anthony's car driving the wrong way on the Howard Frankland Bridge.
John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.