Sunday, May 27, 2018
Public safety

Questions raised about history of officer who drove Pinellas jail transport van

LARGO — The security officer who was driving a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office transport van last month when a man in custody in the back was severely beaten by another detainee had a checkered past as a Pasco deputy.

Andrey Izrailov, 41, had worked at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office for about 12 years when, starting in 2008, he was the subject of a six-month internal affairs investigation in which he faced 39 counts of misconduct.

He now is employed by G4S Secure Solutions, a security company hired by the Sheriff's Office for the past six years to work in several Pinellas locations, including the county jail and the Clearwater courthouse.

Izrailov, whose name was not released after the beating incident, is among the G4S officers assigned to drive the Sheriff's Office jail transport vans, picking up detainees and taking them to the jail.

On July 6, Izrailov was heading to the jail with two intoxicated detainees handcuffed and shackled in the back of the van: Thomas Morrow, 59, of Treasure Island who was taken into custody under the state's Marchman Act; and Leonard David Lanni Jr., 37, of St. Pete Beach, arrested and accused of disorderly conduct.

About 3 miles from the jail, Izrailov glanced at the live monitor that displays the passenger compartment of the van and noticed that Morrow had fallen from the bench. Seconds later, Lanni began to kick him.

Izrailov pulled into a parking lot and asked two deputies there for help. They restrained Lanni.

Nearly two months after the attack, Morrow remains in critical condition, incapable of talking or walking.

Lanni, still in jail, was initially charged with aggravated battery, but the charge now has been upgraded to second-degree attempted murder, court records show.

In 2009, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Pasco County Sheriff's Office investigators found Izrailov routinely stopped for meals and bathroom breaks before responding to calls, including a reported bank holdup and an alarm at an elementary school. The accusations included 18 counts of falsifying documents.

Izrailov did not defend his actions when interviewed by investigators in 2009 and was fired by the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri defended Izrailov.

"People change," he said. "People in life deserve second chances, and they can get their act together."

Gualtieri said he spoke with G4S officials Friday who said Izrailov was reinstated as a Pasco deputy after an appeals hearing and later resigned. The Times could not verify that information Friday evening.

Michael Babboni, the lawyer representing Morrow, said he and Morrow's family were upset that G4S hired Izrailov.

"We were stunned and horrified to see that G4S would have hired somebody with that type of background for this type of a position," he said.

The Times asked G4S for comment and received this email from a company spokeswoman: "G4S bases hiring decisions on a candidate's qualifications and experience and on the candidate's ability to pass complete background and drug screening checks, in accordance with the law."

Gualtieri said he is in the process of reviewing the investigative report on the July 6 beating incident but that it appears Izrailov was not at fault for what happened to Morrow.

"As soon as he sees him fall off the bench, he immediately pulled over. What's the guy supposed to do?" Gualtieri said. "There are some things that probably should have been done differently, but not necessarily by him."

Morrow was moved on Friday from Bayfront Health St. Petersburg to Kindred Hospital, a long-term care facility. He has been unconscious most of the time since the beating. His ventilator was removed, but he remains bedridden and can't walk or talk. He has undergone a tracheotomy and requires a feeding tube.

"It continues to be just a tragic, tragic set of injuries," Babboni said. "At this point, we still don't know what the end result is going to be."

Times staff researcher Natalie A. Watson contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727)445-4157.

Comments
Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

NEW PORT RICHEYDriver surrenders after crash that kills bicyclistThe driver Florida Highway Patrol troopers say struck and killed a bicyclist then drove from the scene turned herself in Sunday afternoon.Shanna Marie Rampino surrendered a 2000 Toyota ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

TRINITY ó No one was hurt Sunday morning after a fire broke out at a rehabilitation center.According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, Trinity Regional Rehab Center at 2144 Welbilt Blvd. is running on generator power after the blaze broke out about 10:30 ...
Published: 05/27/18
FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

HUDSON ó A 30-year-old man died after he was struck by a car and thrown off the motorcycle he was riding.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Derek Fingerle, of Hudson, was traveling south on U.S. 19 in the center lane about 8:20 p.m. Saturday. M...
Published: 05/27/18
Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

RIVERVIEW — A Riverview woman shot and killed her husband Saturday because he punched her father and wouldn’t say sorry, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said. Sabrina Michelle Hendley, 40, faces a first-degree murder charge in th...
Published: 05/26/18
Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

WEEKI WACHEE ó A woman who runs an animal sanctuary will face dozens of animal cruelty charges after Hernando County animal enforcement officers said they found dogs, equine, pigs, cats and chickens housed in poor conditions on her property.Animal of...
Published: 05/26/18

Police investigating shooting outside nightclub

ST. PETERSBURG ó Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred outside a south St. Petersburg nightclub early Saturday morning.Brennan-Aire D. Williams, 28, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving by cab at Bayfront Health. Police invest...
Published: 05/26/18

Woman dies in Plant City after SUV flips off road

PLANT CITY ó A Seffner woman died Saturday from injuries sustained when her sports utility vehicle flipped off the road and crashed into a fence near the intersection of Tanner Road and State Road 574.Amanda K. Cepeda-Duque, 21, was traveling west on...
Published: 05/26/18
Getting popped for trespassing at Starbucks: Itís not always like Philadelphia

Getting popped for trespassing at Starbucks: Itís not always like Philadelphia

ST. PETERSBURG ó She didnít mean to, but inside Starbucks with her headphones on, Amanda Adams got comfortable and fell asleep. Two police officers woke her and escorted her outside."It was humiliating," the 34-year-old said. "I didnít realize I fell...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Quick action to slow traffic on Bayshore prompts call to do more citywide

Quick action to slow traffic on Bayshore prompts call to do more citywide

TAMPA — As city workers set up signs Friday establishing a lower speed limit on Bayshore Boulevard, neighborhood residents and transportation activists urged more steps to improve safety for pedestrians all across the city. The move is a good ...
Published: 05/26/18
Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in childís death

Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in childís death

The 18-year-old who was arrested this week after police said he was racing when he fatally struck a young mother pushing her stroller across Bayshore Boulevard was back in jail on Friday night.Cameron Herrin, 18, was arrested on a second count of veh...
Published: 05/25/18