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Driver in fatal crash with cabbie had high blood-alcohol level, Clearwater police say

CLEARWATER — Brian Keith Ferry Sr., the man accused of killing a cabdriver as he fled from police early Monday, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.205 at the time of the crash, according to Clearwater police.

That's more than twice the level, 0.08, at which Florida law presumes a driver is impaired.

Ferry was wanted on a warrant for driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. In fact, Ferry hasn't been allowed to drive in Florida for more than a decade. His driving privileges were first suspended in 1996 for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test and permanently revoked in 2001 for drunken driving. But that didn't stop him from racking up four DUI arrests, records show.

Police said they tracked Ferry down at the Copper Mug Bar at 1463 S Belcher Road around 1:45 a.m. But when they tried to pull over his 1998 Dodge Ram pickup, police said, Ferry fled north on Belcher Road.

Ferry sped through a red light at the Drew Street intersection and plowed into a Yellow Cab driven by Joshua James Donahue, according to police.

Donahue, a 32-year-old New Port Richey father of three, was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Mease Countryside Hospital. Driving the cab was the only work Donahue could find, friends said, but he planned to spend just one more week on the job.

Ferry, a 47-year-old transient from Largo, was arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, fleeing and eluding at high speed with wanton disregard, and other traffic charges. He remained in the Pinellas County jail on Tuesday, held without bond.

Officers followed Ferry but did not chase him, police said, because under Clearwater policy the misdemeanor arrest warrant did not merit a high-speed pursuit.

Driver in fatal crash with cabbie had high blood-alcohol level, Clearwater police say 04/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 8:22pm]
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