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Pursuit by deputy ends in crash in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A deputy's pursuit of a stolen car ended in a crash Tuesday on U.S. 19 at 49th Street, authorities said.

The crash occurred at about 3:45 p.m. on the southbound U.S. 19 overpass.

Two St. Petersburg men, Rob C. Ross, 21 and Terrance D. Brown, 19, were arrested after officials said they found crack cocaine and marijuana in the stolen vehicle. The men were taken to Bayfront Medical Center with minor injuries, the Pinellas sheriff's officials said.

According to the sheriff's office, Deputy Robert Livernois first spotted the car at East Bay Drive and U.S. 19 while randomly checking tags.

Livernois got a hit on the vehicle — a silver, four-door 2007 Buick Lucerne — as being reported stolen Tuesday out of St. Petersburg.

The two men inside the Buick quickly noticed the cruiser, the sheriff's office said, and turned south onto the U.S. 19 service road. Livernois turned on his emergency lights and began a pursuit when the car ran a red light at 66th Street before getting onto the main highway.

Another cruiser, driven by Deputy Michael Godin, joined the chase. Godin used his cruiser to forcefully block in the vehicle, which hit a curb and blew out a left front tire. The car kept going, however, and Godin used the maneuver once more.

This time, the car hit a center concrete barrier and both vehicles came to rest on the overpass.

"They both sustained heavy damage," said Lt. Gary Berkheimer, spokesman for the Pinellas Park Fire Department. "They both went into the guardrail."

The southbound lanes of U.S. 19 at 49th Street were down to one inside lane as authorities investigated.

Ross, the driver, and Brown, the passenger, will be booked into the Pinellas County Jail on charges of grand theft auto and possession of crack cocaine and marijuana, the sheriff's office said.

Pursuit by deputy ends in crash in Pinellas Park 11/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 9:50pm]

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