Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg officer suspended after crashing his patrol car

ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg police officer who crashed his cruiser while speeding to join a police chase has been suspended for five days.

Officer Timothy Reyes, 29, was driving 110 mph in a 40 mph zone during an authorized chase March 24, St. Petersburg police said.

Reyes told other officers he was going east on 54th Avenue S near the 1900 block when a car pulled out in front of him. He swerved to avoid hitting it.

Investigators said Reyes' cruiser hit the median, slid and flipped. It hit a wooden pole, a metal fence and a tree before stopping. Debris from the pole damaged two parked cars.

All told, the crash caused $30,754 in damage.

Witnesses told officers they didn't see another car pull in front of Reyes. One witness reported seeing a car nearby but didn't know if it prompted Reyes to swerve.

Reyes, who was wearing his seat belt, was pulled from his cruiser and treated for his injuries.

Reyes previously was disciplined for causing a crash on Sept. 26, 2011, a fact officials considered when determining his current discipline.

Police spokesman Bill Proffitt said Reyes was suspended for carelessness, inefficiency and not taking due care to avoid an accident.

St. Petersburg police policy states officers in a chase can "exceed the posted speed limit by up to 25 mph, taking into account traffic, road and weather conditions," according to a department report. Reyes exceeded the speed limit by 70 mph.

The misconduct report stated the crash was "preventable."

The chain of events began about 12:40 a.m. March 24 when a 2002 Cadillac Deville was stolen from a gas station. About 20 minutes later, a man in a Kia intentionally, police say, swerved into oncoming traffic and rammed one of the officers searching for the Cadillac. That officer was not hurt.

Saying the driver had committed aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, the St. Petersburg Police Department authorized pursuit of the Kia.

Before the guidelines were loosened in 2010, St. Petersburg had a policy that allowed officers to chase only people suspected in violent crimes. Police can now chase suspects in lesser crimes like burglary and auto theft.

Comments
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Deputies: 19-month-old child found in New Port Richey pond has died

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 19-month-old child that was found in a pond on Thursday afternoon has died, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 12:31 p.m. Deputies and firefighters were called out to a home in the 47...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

LARGO — Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip., was shot an...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

The man identified as the suspect who fatally shot two Gilchrist County deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his own life has ties to the Tampa Bay area.Deputies say John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell — who was found dead outside ...
Published: 04/20/18
Authorities say motive in deputy killings may never be known

Authorities say motive in deputy killings may never be known

TRENTON — Investigators in Florida say they may never know why a man - a recluse from a rural farm community who rarely ventured into town - killed two sheriff’s deputies while they sat in a Chinese restaurant. John Hubert Highnote, 58, of Bell casua...
Published: 04/20/18
One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

OCALA — One student shot another in the ankle at a Florida high school and the suspected shooter is in custody, authorities said Friday.The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reported that the shooting happened Friday morning at Forest High School, which...
Published: 04/20/18
Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Mario Nunez called it a "huge shaking my head moment" when the photo inside the cabin of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 appeared on his TV.The story was about a terrifying emergency landing after an engine exploded 20 minutes into a trip from New Yor...
Published: 04/20/18
A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey State Police trooper accused of repeatedly pulling over women to ask them out on dates has been indicted. The state attorney general’s office announced Thursday that 32-year-old Eric Richardson faces charges including off...
Published: 04/20/18
Pinellas detention deputy fired for using racial slur

Pinellas detention deputy fired for using racial slur

LARGO — Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired a detention deputy Friday after an internal investigation found he used a racial slur to describe black inmates.A fellow Pinellas County Jail deputy reported Jorge Lopez, 30, after he repeatedly used the s...
Published: 04/20/18