Sunday, June 17, 2018
Public safety

Officer injured, cruisers damaged after dramatic carjacking arrests in Pinellas Park

A police officer was hospitalized and a number of squad cars were damaged as authorities made three dramatic arrests in Pinellas Park while investigating a carjacking Wednesday night.

The arrests were made about 6:30 p.m. on Park Boulevard.

A tipster had alerted detectives that the people responsible for a carjacking Tuesday night may have been in the area of Park and 43rd Street N.

When officers arrived in the area, they saw a Hundai Sonata in the parking lot of a Citgo gas station that had been taken in the carjacking. The driver went inside the station, then emerged and entered the passenger side of a second vehicle in the parking lot, police said.

Officers moved in. The driver of the second vehicle accelerated and ran head-on into a cruiser driven by Officer Eric Holmes, police said. The crash caused heavy damage to the cruiser and resulted in Holmes going to the hospital with injuries not considered life threatening.

Officers took the driver, Mundrae Francis, 24, and the passenger, Sharrod Holmes, 16, into custody, police reported.

Meanwhile, a person sitting in the Sonata moved into the driver seat and rammed several police cars, drove over gas pumps and escaped onto Park Boulevard. Members of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office's Violent Crimes Task Force, who were there to assist, followed the Sonata and brought it to a stop near the Home Depot just west of U.S. 19, police said.

The driver, Corey Ellis, 18, was taken into custody and faces charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault. A gun was found in his car, police said.

Police said Ellis and Holmes match the description of the people involved in the carjacking. They face a number of charges.

The carjacking occurred about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as two 17-year-old girls were in a Sonata in the driveway of a friend's house in the 1800 block of 64th Avenue N.

While they waited, a black car pulled in behind them. Two males got out of the car and one told the driver to give him the keys.

She dropped the keys on the ground and one male hit her in the face with the butt of a gun. One male drove off with the Sonata. The other left in the black car.

The driver was taken to All Children's Hospital, where she was treated for a cut on her face, police said.

Comments
Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market will be closed throughout the weekend after a warehouse fire broke out Friday.A St. Petersburg Police officer noticed smoke coming from the market at 22nd Ave. N around midnight Friday, said St. Petersburg F...
Published: 06/16/18
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Published: 06/16/18
St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a man Friday in connection with a 31-year-old sexual assault case and believe he’s connected to other unsolved cases from decades ago.Anthony Stokes, 56, faces a charge of armed sexual battery, according to St. Peters...
Published: 06/15/18
Records detail Wrigley heir’s $480,000 betrayal by trusted employees

Records detail Wrigley heir’s $480,000 betrayal by trusted employees

ODESSA — One day in the summer of 2014, Helen Rich spotted a Facebook post about an aging black Labrador in Kansas named Lady who badly needed a new home. The author and heir to the Wrigley gum fortune had recently lost her own Black lab. Rich decide...
Published: 06/15/18
Hillsborough Hispanic women targeted in lottery scam

Hillsborough Hispanic women targeted in lottery scam

TAMPA — Maria Pena-Lebron, 83, was walking out of Fresco y Mas with her groceries in May when she was approached by a woman wearing a straw hat, who pleaded with her for help. The stranger claimed to be an undocumented immigrant and therefore unable ...
Published: 06/15/18
Tampa fire captain demoted for stripping off shirt, daring homeless man to fight

Tampa fire captain demoted for stripping off shirt, daring homeless man to fight

TAMPA — Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Jeremy Finney was, by all accounts, a model firefighter — until he lost his cool. The outburst cost him two ranks.Finney has served nearly 16 years in the department and was a member of the Tactical Medical Response Te...
Published: 06/15/18
Coaster that derailed in Daytona Beach had reported safety issues in 2017

Coaster that derailed in Daytona Beach had reported safety issues in 2017

DAYTONA BEACH — Two roller coaster riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) when their car derailed and was left dangling from the track, and firefighters used ladders to pull eight others to safety high above the Daytona Beach Boardwalk. "The front car which...
Published: 06/15/18
Largo man accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend’s toddler

Largo man accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend’s toddler

A Largo man is facing kidnapping and attempted murder charges after authorities say he took his ex-girlfriend’s 2-year-old child last weekend and rammed another man’s car to get away.Johnny A. Wise, 27, was arrested late Thursday on Williams Drive ne...
Published: 06/15/18
Charges dropped against two UCF fraternity members accused of rape

Charges dropped against two UCF fraternity members accused of rape

ORLANDO — Prosecutors have dropped charges against two University of Central Florida students — one of whom is from Hillsborough County — who were accused of raping a woman at a fraternity party.The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Orange-Osceola St...
Published: 06/15/18
2 killed when vehicle struck by train in Polk County

2 killed when vehicle struck by train in Polk County

FROSTPROOF — Two people were killed when their vehicle was struck by a train early Friday morning.Polk County deputies say the crash occurred on westbound U.S. 98 near Western Avenue just after 3 a.m.Westbound lanes on U.S. 98 are expected to be clo...
Published: 06/15/18