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Police chase ends in crash in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Another police chase through the city's streets ended in a crash Monday afternoon.

One person sustained a minor injury after a stolen sport utility vehicle led police on a pursuit, then crashed into some cars at a gas station at 22nd Avenue S and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street S.

The incident began when officers from the street crimes unit saw the SUV shortly after 4 p.m. at a Chevron gas station at First Avenue S and 34th Street.

As police approached, a 16-year-old boy behind the wheel drove at one of the officers. The officer jumped out of the way.

"Then it rammed a police cruiser," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

Supervisors authorized a pursuit at 4:14 p.m., Proffitt said.

Police chased the car down First Avenue S., then Martin Luther King Jr. Street. The SUV turned briefly into the Roser Park neighborhood, then went back onto Martin Luther King Jr Street.

The chase ended a few minutes later when the SUV pulled into a gas station at 22nd Avenue S.

"It looked like they tried to abandon the vehicle and bail out, but in the process they hit two cars at the gas station," Proffitt said.

One of the motorists at the gas station was treated for minor injuries, police said.

Police were still investigating Monday night, but said two boys and two girls were in the car, which was reported stolen a couple of weeks ago.

Proffitt said the two girls in the car, both 14, are not expected to be charged with a crime because after the car rammed the police officers, they tried to exit but were prevented from doing so by one of the boys.

Police said the two boys face several charges.

Driver Nicoli Karan Singh, who was on probation for burglary and had a warrant for grand theft auto, faces charges of auto theft and aggravated battery on a police officer.

Passenger Aric Jackson, 16, faces charges of resisting arrest and false imprisonment.

Controversy over police pursuits heated up this summer after a series of crashes occurred after high-speed chases through the city. In some of the cases, bystanders were injured. Police Chief Chuck Harmon has defended his department's pursuit record.

St. Petersburg police officers are only allowed to chase people suspected of forcible felonies. Aggravated battery, such as when a person rams a police cruiser, is included in that definition.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8643.

Police chase ends in crash in St. Petersburg 08/13/12 [Last modified: Monday, August 13, 2012 11:02pm]

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