Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police chase starts in Tampa, ends in St. Petersburg

Police say a man in a BMW convertible led them on a high-speed chase from Tampa to St. Petersburg along Interstate 275 early Wednesday.

The chase started about 3 a.m. when a Tampa police corporal noticed the car running red lights southbound on Armenia Avenue near W Main Street, police said.

The corporal turned on emergency sirens to pull over the 2004 BMW. Police said the vehicle hit 120 mph amid traffic on I-275 S.

A Tampa police helicopter followed, but it could not match the car's speed, according to an arrest affidavit.

The driver tried hiding from authorities by turning off the headlights and drove to 11150 Fourth St. N.

He abandoned the car, but the helicopter continued tracking him.

The helicopter crew guided police to a staircase where the suspect was hiding.

Police arrested Artez Leon Hooker, 27, of 4641 15th Ave. S, on a charge of fleeing and eluding an officer, a felony.

They added a drug possession charge when the officer who took Hooker out of the patrol car found a plastic bag containing marijuana in the back seat, police said. The car had been cleaned before the corporal started his shift, he said, and "no one else had been in the car."

Police noted on the arrest affidavit that Hooker appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

He remained in the Pinellas County jail without bail Wednesday afternoon.

From October to March, Hooker — also known as Pop Daddy — has been arrested on charges of reckless driving, fleeing and eluding at high speeds, cocaine possession, and driving with a suspended license.

He has an extensive juvenile record. State records show he has been arrested since age 11 in connection with a strong-armed robbery, auto thefts, and, in December 1998, shooting a man twice his age.

At age 15, he shot a man three times after the man apparently cut off his bicycle at an intersection. About a month later, he got into a verbal fight with the same man at a barber shop. Hooker left after lifting his shirt and showing the man a gun tucked into his pants. Police charged him with tampering with a witness, records show.

Hooker was tried as an adult, found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and served three years in state prison.

Follow This Just In on Twitter.

Police chase starts in Tampa, ends in St. Petersburg 05/12/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Spring Hill couple arrested on drug charges after months-long investigation

    Crime

    SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill couple was arrested Wednesday on several drug charges after a months-long investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

    Hernando County Sheriff's Office detectives stand behind 24 pounds of marijuana seized by the agency during a drug bust this week. [Photo by Megan Reeves]
  2. New Pinellas Trail stretch draws raves at opening

    Human Interest

    EAST LAKE — Mike Siebel bikes the Pinellas Trail four days a week and loops up and down the Suncoast Trail at least a couple times every year. A 68-year-old cycling diehard, he was so eager for the opening of the 5-mile segment extending the Pinellas Trail to the Pasco border that he would often drive across …

    Cyclists wait for the official opening of the Pinellas Trail's newest segment. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  3. Authorities recover body of missing boater in Lake Thonotosassa

    Accidents

    THONOTOSASSA — Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of a 44-year-old Plantation man who went missing while boating on Lake Thonotosassa.

  4. Chester Bennington, Linkin Park singer, dies by suicide at 41: Report

    Blogs

    Chester Bennington, the flame-throated singer of enormosly popular metal band Linkin Park, has reportedly committed suicide at age 41.

    Chester Bennington and Linkin Park last performed in Tampa at Steinbrenner Field in 2014.
  5. Fifth worker from TECO molten slag accident dies

    Public Safety

    The June 29 accident at the Tampa Electric Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach claimed a fifth life on Thursday.

    A fifth worker died following a June 29 accident at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. Anthony Perez, 56, an employee of BRACE Industrial Group, died Thursday. [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES]