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Accused driver in fatal St. Petersburg crash trades hospital for jail

LARGO — The 20-year-old St. Petersburg driver accused of drunkenly running a red light and killing a father and his three sons this weekend was released from a hospital Tuesday night and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

Demetrius Dontae Jordan was booked into the jail at 8:30 p.m., according to jail officials. He was placed in one of the more than 400 beds in the jail's inmate health care facility.

He faces four counts of DUI manslaughter, a charge of DUI resulting in serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21.

A judge set his bail at $220,250.

Jordan suffered unspecified injuries in the early Sunday morning crash that St. Petersburg police said took the lives of Elroy McConnell, 51, and his three sons Elroy III, 28; Nathan, 24; and Kelly, 19.

The McConnells had rented a house on Redington Beach this past weekend with their wives, children and the youngest son's girlfriend. Then Saturday night the men went to see the movie Predators at BayWalk.

They were headed back about 12:30 a.m. Sunday in the elder McConnell's Ford Fusion when police said they were broad-sided by a Chevy Impala driven by a speeding Jordan.

Jordan was doing an estimated 80 mph on southbound Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, according to police, and ignored the red light at the 22nd Avenue N intersection. He ran the light just as the McConnells drove by on westbound 22nd Avenue, police said.

Jordan struck the passenger side of the McConnells' car, police said, and pushed the driver's side into the metal support beam of a 7-Eleven sign at the southwest corner of the intersection.

All four McConnells died instantly, police said.

Both vehicles were destroyed in the crash. The speed limit at that intersection is 35 mph.

Mario Robinson, Jordan's 20-year-old passenger and cousin, was seriously injured in the crash. He underwent surgery and remains at Bayfront Medical Center. Jordan was treated there, too, but as a prisoner under guard until his release Tuesday.

Police said Jordan admitted after the crash that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana beforehand. Police said they also found an alcoholic beverage can behind Jordan's seat.

It will take weeks for authorities to determine Jordan's blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash. His blood was drawn at the hospital and sent to a lab for testing. Florida law presumes a driver is impaired with a BAC of 0.08 or greater.

The investigation into the crash will take weeks to complete.

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Accused driver in fatal St. Petersburg crash trades hospital for jail 08/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 5:15pm]
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