Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Public safety

Police chase pair after carjacking of 91-year-old woman's SUV

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ST. PETERSBURG — Two men yanked a 91-year-old woman from her SUV, stole it and led police on a chase Thursday, police said. Along the way, they crashed into four other cars. No one was seriously injured.

Two men were arrested in connection with the incident.

At 4:17 p.m., St. Petersburg police received a call that an elderly woman had been carjacked. Police said two men in a black Dodge Ram pickup crashed into the woman's Toyota Venza near 23rd Avenue and Seventh Street N.

One of the men pulled Beverly Landrey of St. Petersburg from the SUV and tossed her to the ground, police said. The man then drove away in her SUV with the truck following.

Landrey's husband, Wilbur, is the former chief correspondent based in Paris for the then-St. Petersburg Times, now the Tampa Bay Times. He worked for the paper for 21 years and retired in 1997.

Lying in the street, yelling for someone to help, Landrey said Thursday night that she thought of her fragile age — 91½, because after that many years the half is important, she said — and desperately hoped someone would help.

Two people came to her aid, she said. They ran from a nearby house and comforted her, although she never got their names.

About an hour later, an officer spotted the stolen Venza near 14th Avenue and 12th Street S with two men inside. When officers tried to stop the car the driver sped off, police said.

Police followed the SUV and, within 20 minutes, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office helicopter flew overhead to keep an eye on its location.

During the chase, the SUV crashed into four cars, three along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street S. The driver hit another car as he sped past 18th Avenue and 16th Street S, police said.

About 30 minutes after the chase began, the two men bailed from the SUV near the 800 block of Paris Avenue S and ran between the neighborhood houses.

Police sealed off the area and eventually arrested both men.

The initial carjacking was still under investigation, so authorities charged the driver with fleeing and eluding, auto theft and multiple counts of leaving the scene of an accident. They charged the passenger with resisting arrest. Police had not released their names late Thursday.

Landrey was home Thursday night and suffered from a bad bump on the head, a sore hip and scrapes and bruises.

Police have not found the truck used to crash into Landrey's SUV, and authorities believe the pickup was previously reported stolen.

One man involved in the string of accidents during the chase complained of back pain. The three others reported no injuries.

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