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St. Petersburg man crashes into fire hydrant after brief police chase

ST. PETERSBURG — Authorities arrested a 30-year-old man after he led them on a brief chase that ended when he grazed a building and crashed into a fire hydrant late Wednesday.

Gregory Cunningham Jr., of St. Petersburg, was driving a stolen white, 2002 Honda Accord when Pinellas sheriff's deputies arrested him about 10:30 p.m. near Central Avenue and 38th Street N.

The county's Violent Crimes Task Force initiated a pursuit just minutes earlier, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said deputies tried to stop the Honda near 37th Street and Burlington Avenue N after determining it was stolen.

"At that point the driver accelerated his vehicle and rammed it front first into a cruiser," Barreda said.

Cunningham crashed a few blocks later. He fled but was caught by a police canine unit.

Lawyer Jamy Magro owns a building at 3775 Central Ave. A surveillance video on his building shows a white car running off the road and grazing the side, leaving scrape marks on the wall. The car then comes to a stop after it smashes into a fire hydrant on the corner.

Early Thursday, St. Petersburg maintenance workers were replacing the hydrant and said it would probably take 10 hours to complete the job.

Magro estimated it will cost about $1,000 to replace or fix a chipped door frame, cracked concrete and wall.

Cunningham, of 5226 Fifth St. S, was charged with grand theft, fleeing and eluding police, leaving the scene of an accident, drug possession and aggravated battery with a motor vehicle. He was held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $30,750 bail Thursday.

His passenger, Leandre Snead, 25, of St. Petersburg, also was arrested. Snead faces charges of possession of marijuana and cocaine and was being held in lieu of $2,150 bail.

St. Petersburg man crashes into fire hydrant after brief police chase 08/16/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 10:20pm]
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