Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three police chases in St. Petersburg end in three arrests

ST. PETERSBURG — Three high-speed pursuits took place within a five-hour span on Wednesday night, authorities said. Three St. Petersburg men were arrested and each case involved drugs or guns.

None of the men behind the wheel were legally allowed to drive, according to state records.

• The first pursuit started at 6:39 p.m. on 28th Street N near 38th Avenue, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. A sergeant driving north spotted a car ahead of him also headed north — but in the southbound lane, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The sergeant then chased the silver Mitsubishi south on 28th Street and east onto 38th Avenue, where deputies said the car ran a red light and weaved through traffic.

Then the car tried to escape onto northbound Interstate 275. The pursuit ended when the Mitsubishi struck a vehicle trying to exit the interstate at 54th Avenue, deputies said.

The driver, Darius J. Phillips, 24, was arrested after a brief foot chase on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving and driving with a suspended or revoked license. Deputies said he threw away a .40-caliber handgun while running away.

He was freed from the Pinellas County jail on Thursday after $15,500 bail was posted.

• St. Petersburg police said the second pursuit started a few minutes later, at 7:45 p.m., at 18th Avenue S and 45th Street S.

Officers tried to pull over a tan 2010 Chevy Malibu that had sped away from them last month, police said. But the Malibu sped away again, drove west onto eastbound 18th Avenue S and tried to strike an oncoming police cruiser, authorities said.

Officers briefly lost the vehicle but later found it parked at 5035 Fourth Ave. S. They arrested the driver, 22-year-old Quinton Darnell McKinney, on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding, possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell and being a habitual offender of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

He was freed from the county jail on Thursday. The bond: $32,150.

• The third pursuit started at 11:55 p.m. Wednesday near the 5100 block of 18th Avenue S.

A St. Petersburg officer and Pinellas deputy — part of the county's new violent crimes task force — pulled over a 1994 Toyota whose brake lights were out. But when they approached the car it drove off, police said, and they started a pursuit.

The pursuit ended when the car crashed into the corner of a home at 5021 17th Ave S., police said. The driver fled, shrugged off a Taser blast and jumped over several fences, before officers tackled him, police said. The home suffered $10,000 damage. But police reports didn't say if the house was occupied at the time.

Jason Christopher Smalls, 36, was arrested on two counts of fleeing and eluding, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, driving with a license suspended or revoked, possession of cocaine and marijuana, obstruction and three counts of failing to appear in court. He told police he fled because he was scared.

Smalls was jailed Thursday in lieu of $58,339 bail.

Three police chases in St. Petersburg end in three arrests 08/05/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 4:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman


    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  3. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light


    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  4. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling


    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. PTA treasurer at Pinellas school accused of stealing $5,000


    The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.

    Lisa McMenamin, 50, of Tarpon Springs, is facing felony charges of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer. She is accused of stealing $5,000 to pay credit card and phone bills. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]