Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cabdriver killed as suspect flees police

CLEARWATER — A few months ago, Joshua James Donahue took a job as a cabdriver after he couldn't find other work, his mom said.

Early Monday, Brian Keith Ferry Sr., who has been arrested on at least four driving-under-the-influence charges in Florida and whose license was revoked more than eight years ago, ran a red light and killed Donahue, police said.

Donahue, 32, of New Port Richey planned to drive the cab just one more week before quitting, said his girlfriend's mom, Janet Blydenburgh. He was supposed to be packing today to move with his girlfriend, Jaime, to Old Town, Blydenburgh said.

"He was a wonderful man," she said. "I was very happy he was in my daughter's life."

Donahue was born in Syracuse, N.Y., and came here in 1998. He had three daughters and worked as a bartender at Boomerz, a popular Seminole nightclub, which has closed. He used to live in Seminole and mostly worked in construction and warehouse jobs, said Donahue's mother, Sandy Morrissette of Madeira Beach.

"He was just a big lovable guy," she said.

Here's what happened Monday, according to authorities:

Police tried to arrest Ferry on an outstanding warrant after getting a tip that a man wanted for failing to appear in court for driving with a suspended or revoked license was at the Copper Mug Bar at 1463 S Belcher Road.

Ferry, 47, of Largo left the bar about 1:45 a.m. Officers tried to pull over his 1998 Dodge Ram, but Ferry sped north on Belcher. Police followed, but did not use emergency lights.

Shortly afterward, Ferry ran a red light and crashed into Donahue's Yellow Cab on Drew Street, authorities said.

Donahue was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital and pronounced dead at 2:35 a.m.

Officers did not chase Ferry because his misdemeanor warrant did not qualify as grounds for pursuit, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts. Under department policy, police can pursue fleeing suspects only when they have committed or attempted violent felonies.

Ferry was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, then later booked at the Pinellas County Jail on charges of vehicular homicide, fleeing or eluding and driving with a suspended or revoked license causing injury. He was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Police said alcohol was a factor in the crash and are awaiting the result of a blood test.

Times researcher Will Gorham contributed to this report. Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.

Cabdriver killed as suspect flees police 04/12/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 9:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  2. Florida softball returns to World Series; FSU baseball in ACC title game


    GAINESVILLE — Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 Saturday to win the deciding Game 3 of their softball Super Region, putting the Gators in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history.

    ’NOLE POWER: FSU’s Dylan Busby, right, is congratulated by teammate Taylor Walls after Busby’s homer against Duke.
  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Christian to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a perfect 30-0 …

    Matheu Nelson of Calvary Christian celebrates scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning.
  4. Mayor: Men stabbed after anti-Muslin rant died as 'heroes' (w/video)


    PORTLAND, Ore. — Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train.

    A sign of thanks rests against a traffic light pole at a memorial outside the transit center on Saturday in Portland, Ore. [Associated Press]
  5. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”