Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Police chase after kidnap call ends in crash

ST. PETERSBURG — Police have charged one man after an early morning car chase Monday resulted in a crash when the fleeing driver lost control of his vehicle.

Charged with leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, no valid driver's license, fleeing and eluding, and violation of probation was Julius L. Simons, 20, of 1000 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg police released Simons' passenger, Keenan J. Wynn, 20, of 5817 Fairfield Ave. S, Apartment 6, St. Petersburg.

Detectives have referred allegations of kidnapping to the State Attorney's Office for investigation.

They say the incident appears to be drug-related.

St. Petersburg police say it all began about 7 a.m. when they received a cellphone call from Tracy Lilly, who told dispatchers he was calling from a Chase Bank ATM near 38th Avenue N and 49th Street. Lilly said he was being forced by two men to withdraw cash from the machine to pay an alleged drug debt.

The two men were waiting in a white van parked near the ATM, Lilly said. He thought they had a gun. After describing the van, he abruptly hung up when, he said, the two men approached him.

About 10 minutes later, officers noticed a van matching the description in the area of 19th Avenue N and 49th Street. They tried to stop the van, which began to accelerate south on 49th.

Traveling about 55 mph, according to police, the van then veered west then southbound again on 50th Street where the driver lost control and crashed at the intersection of First Avenue N.

Simons was captured near a house at 5144 First Ave. N. His passenger, Wynn, was found at the accident scene. Lilly was also found in the van. Neither he nor the two suspects suffered any significant injury as a result of the accident, police said.

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