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Crossing guard killed in crash remembered as a good man

CLEARWATER — Some knew him as the friendly crossing guard who always smiled and said hello. Many remembered him as the veteran officer who helped new hires at the Clearwater Police Department. Others described him as a loving father and husband.

About 350 people gathered Friday at Grace Lutheran Church in Clearwater to remember Douglas Carey, a crossing guard killed Tuesday by a speeding Cadillac.

"We lost a really good one," said Bob Repp, a retired Clearwater officer who worked with Carey. "Just a lovely man."

Carey, a U.S. Air Force veteran and motorcycle aficionado, joined Clearwater police in 1968. He retired about 20 years later and went to work as a security officer at Morton Plant Hospital. Four years ago, Carey, 70, returned to the Police Department as a part-time crossing guard.

"Doug was a public servant," said Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne. "And one thing I want us to remember about that is that he was a public servant until the end."

During the service, officers, Pinellas deputies and crossing guards from Clearwater, the Sheriff's Office and St. Petersburg crowded the church. With no seats left, many stood near the entrance.

Among those who spoke was Bill Plennert, a retired Clearwater officer who lived near Carey. In 1971, Plennert joined the Police Department and later worked with Carey in the vice and intelligence unit.

"I got to know Doug really well then, and I learned he was a very unique individual. Really calm, collected," Plennert said. "Doug was the kind of person you wanted to be around. He had an infectious laugh."

Danielle Dilday, 16, said Carey always said hello as she walked by Skycrest Elementary, one of Carey's posts.

The day after Carey's death, Danielle didn't see him as she walked by.

"Then I saw flowers and a sign and I realized it was him," she said through tears. "He was an amazing man, and you didn't need to know him to realize that."

Gregg Hickman, another retired officer, remembered Carey as the dedicated field training officer who showed him the ropes. Years later when both retired from the department, Carey, a security officer at the time, visited Hickman while he stayed at Morton Plant Hospital for a heart procedure.

"His personality was just such that he befriended instead of offending people as a law enforcement officer and as a person," Hickman said.

Carey was doing his job Tuesday at the northwest corner of Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard when a speeding Cadillac collided with another car and barreled toward him, hurling Carey into the air and onto the pavement of a gas station, police said. He died at the scene.

The driver, Julious Johnson, ran away, leaving behind his injured daughters, ages 2 and 4. Johnson, 28, was arrested nearby and faces several charges, including leaving the scene of a crash involving death.

Police filed another charge Friday against Johnson: felon in possession of a firearm. Detectives recovered a loaded .40-caliber handgun in the area where Johnson ran away, according to an arrest affidavit. He remained at the Pinellas County Jail on Friday in lieu of $491,000 bail.

Before the service ended, officers folded the U.S. flag draped over his casket and handed the neatly folded bundle to his wife of 42 years, Jean Carey.

As his casket was lifted out of the church, Jean walked behind it, cradling the flag in her arms.

Contact Laura C. Morel at lmorel@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157. On Twitter: @lauracmorel.

Crossing guard killed in crash remembered as a good man 05/23/14 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2014 11:14pm]

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