Sunday, June 24, 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
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Three people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the people arrived at a house in Childs Park, on the 41...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police on scene at New Tampa traffic crash with critical injuries

Police on scene at New Tampa traffic crash with critical injuries

The Tampa Police Department is on scene at a traffic crash with critical injuries at New Tampa Boulevard and Wood Sage Drive.This is a developing story.Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] Follow @PGuzzoTimes.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

ST. PETERSBURG — A 22-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel after drinking and ran a red light, hitting and killing a motorcyclist Saturday night, police said.Just before midnight, Michael P. Majchrowski, 48, was riding a 2016 BMW motorcycle eastb...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Authorities find

Authorities find "inmate" who walked away from Bilirakis event

The 23-year-old man who authorities said walked away from a New Port Richey political event while under supervision of a treatment center on Saturday has been located.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office described Nicholas Moore, 23, as both an "inmate"...
Published: 06/23/18
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Published: 06/23/18
Tampa boy, 14, shot, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and on his way home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he fa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Published: 06/22/18
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Published: 06/22/18
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Published: 06/22/18