Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

$9-million negligence ruling against Kenneth Petrillo won't affect the Tampa police officer's status

TAMPA — A judge's $9.14 million ruling against an officer involved in a 2005 crash will have no bearing on his employment with Tampa police, an agency police spokeswoman said.

Kenneth Petrillo was a deputy with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office when he crashed into a Honda Accord on Jan. 3, 2005, after running a red light during a chase of a DUI suspect.

A judge ruled Friday that Petrillo was negligent and victim Jennifer Wohlgemuth is entitled to millions in damages after she suffered a brain injury that her attorney said leaves her unable to care for herself.

Petrillo joined Tampa police in September 2007 after 11 years with Pasco County, according to his personnel file. In that time, he has had strong reviews. Nine months after joining the department, he was lauded by a supervisor as someone who "conducts himself as a veteran officer would and takes great pride in his work."

Petrillo also is a co-founder of K9 Forensics Recovery Team, Inc., a voluntary canine search team specializing in detecting human remains.

A key disagreement in the lawsuit was whether Petrillo activated his siren and lights when he joined the chase. He said in a sworn statement that he did, but Wohlgemuth's attorney said a witness testified otherwise.

Petrillo was not wearing his seat belt, as agency policy required. Nor did he have his supervisor's permission to join the chase.

The judge's ruling should not affect his standing in Tampa, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

Court judgment won't affect Tampa officer's status

$9-million negligence ruling against Kenneth Petrillo won't affect the Tampa police officer's status 03/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman


    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.