Monday, December 11, 2017
Public safety

Bicyclists ride through crime scene tape, into jail

Usually, when police are investigating a serious crime and unspool their crime scene tape, people know to stay outside of the yellow lines. But as St. Petersburg police investigated a fiery crash recently that killed three young women, two bicyclists rode under the tape and into the scene.

The crash occurred in the early morning hours of June 26 in the area of Ninth Avenue S and 16th Street. A wrong-way driver smashed into another car, causing it to burst into flames, police said. The driver of the wrong-way car ran away but was arrested days later, police said.

But as police investigated that morning, Ricky Junior McCants Jr., 39, rode his bicycle under the crime scene tape. When officers told him to get out, he refused and argued with them, arrest reports state.

McCants, who police said smelled of alcohol, was arrested on an obstruction charge.

About 15 minutes later, police said, Kenneth Xavier McNeil, 21, lifted up the tape and rode his bike through the crime scene. McNeil braced and pulled away when officers put him into handcuffs, arrest reports state.

Both men were sentenced to two days in jail.

Man arrested after drunk dialing 911

Pinellas sheriff's deputies arrested a man recently after they said he called 911 three times asking deputies to come to a home in Seminole to help him with a malfunctioning cellphone.

David J. Chapman, 54, was arrested June 30 on a charge of misusing 911. Chapman was intoxicated when he made the calls, arrest reports state.

Chapman has been arrested about 15 times this year on charges of disorderly intoxication, open container violation, panhandling, trespassing and fraud.

Faking coma doesn't stop arrest (yet again)

St. Petersburg police encountered a homeless man in Williams Park on July 2 and tried to arrest him on charges of disorderly intoxication and trespassing. Police said Richard Allen Vann, 24, was drinking in the park, from which he had been banned in January.

Here's what the arresting officer wrote in the report: "When the defendant was arrested, within moments of these actions, the defendant fell into a simulated catatonic state. The defendant has repeatedly faked seizures, comas and illness to avoid going to jail. The defendant has been released from custody multiple times to be transported to the hospital, only to be seen an hour later completely healthy and running around the downtown area. The defendant has been warned excessively about his conduct, but on today's date, once again the defendant did fake being in some type of medical episode. The defendant was seen by paramedics, who advised that the defendant's vital signs were fine. The defendant continued, forcing police to have him transported to the hospital for medical clearance. The defendant has wasted thousands of dollars and many man hours of St. Petersburg Fire Department and Sunstar Ambulance as well as personnel at the local hospitals. The defendant believes that these actions will prevent him from being transported to the Pinellas County Jail."

Court records show Vann has been arrested at least 15 times this year on charges of trespassing, disorderly intoxication, having an open container of alcohol and panhandling.

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