By all accounts, 18-year-old Corey Felty was drunk the night in 2007 when he tried to jump from a balcony into a swimming pool, cracking his head on the ground.
A recent lawsuit says the homeowners should pay up for Felty's brain injury and other damages if a court finds they were responsible for providing the teen with alcohol.
It was just after midnight on the morning of July 14, 2007. Felty had stopped by a house party of teenagers in Palm Harbor....
CLEARWATER — She came from Guatemala, a woman in her early 20s smuggled into the United States for what she thought was a housekeeping job.
The journey from her small town to the Texas border took 26 days. From there she was whisked to a safe house near Houston, then brought to Tampa and moved once more to a house in Jacksonville.
There, an enforcer for the human trafficking operation told the woman her debt had jumped from $5,000 to $30,000. ...
CLEARWATER — The judge was back in his chambers, the courtroom had emptied out, and the day's official business was in the books, but the most dramatic moment in Thursday's Hulk Hogan divorce hearing was still to come.
Linda Bollea's attorney, Ray Rafool, was giving an interview in front of half a dozen television cameras at the back of the room when Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, butted in. ...
03/09/09 Public Safety
TARPON SPRINGS — Hidden inside the tan warehouse behind the shopping center on U.S. 19, authorities say, were fake walls, secret doors and more than $300,000 worth of marijuana plants.
On Monday morning, Pinellas sheriff's detectives raided the grow operation at 39070 U.S. 19 N, just north of Klosterman Road.
They seized 451 plants of various sizes — 222 pounds of marijuana total — and $146,020 in cash. ...
DUNEDIN — A propane tank that was responsible for a massive explosion at a Dunedin house earlier this month was being kept in the bedroom, according to Sam Venzeio, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal's Office.
Venzeio said Monday the investigation conducted by his office and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is focused now on determining why the homeowner, Duane Cole, 46, was keeping the propane in his room. ...
St. PETERSBURG — Arson is suspected in a fire that destroyed 12 apartments early Sunday morning in Feather Sound.
The fire broke out about 2:30 a.m. at the Bay Meadow complex at 13795 Feather Sound Circle E, according to authorities. It appears the fire was set on the outside and then spread quickly, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said, wrecking the upstairs and downstairs units in the building. ...
CLEARWATER — Police investigated the role Scientology played in the suicide of a troubled young man two years ago, but did not conclude church members forced him off his antidepressant medication or contributed to his death.
Last week, the mother of Kyle Brennan filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Scientology's Clearwater-based Flag Service Organization and three Scientologists, claiming they took away Brennan's medication. The suit names the boy's father, Thomas Brennan, as a defendant; along with Denise Gentile, who is the twin sister of the church's worldwide leader, David Miscavige; and her husband, Gerald. ...
CLEARWATER — A mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, its Flag Service Organization and three parishioners, claiming they brought about her son's death by denying him access to his antidepression medication.
Among the three parishioners named as defendants: Denise Gentile, the twin sister of the church's current worldwide leader, David Miscavige, as well as her husband, Gerald Gentile. ...
LARGO — A former Largo man has been arrested on a charge of DUI manslaughter and DUI with serious bodily injury, seven months after a crash that killed a motorcyclist and cost the passenger a leg.
James E. Laier, 57, was extradited from Kane County, Ill., near Chicago, to the Pinellas County Jail, where he was served with the arrest warrants Monday.
The crash occurred about 2 a.m. July 18, 2008, Largo police Sgt. George Edmiston said. ...
02/13/09 Public Safety
LARGO — Police this week removed an unruly 7-year-old from his classroom and forced him to be hospitalized under the state's Baker Act — against the wishes of his outraged parents.
The boy spent the night alone at Morton Plant Hospital before he was seen by a child psychologist the next day and discharged.
"This is a total abuse of police power," said the boy's father, Richard Smith, 41. "My son has no mental health problems. He's never hurt himself. He's never hurt anyone else." ...
DUNEDIN — Duane A. Cole told his wife that he remembers being at home with his dog one minute and waking up at Tampa General Hospital the next.
He doesn't recall anything of the blast and fire that ravaged his Dunedin home Wednesday, his wife, Kelley M. Cole, told the St. Petersburg Times.
Investigators from the state Fire Marshal and Pinellas County Sheriff's offices spent Thursday trying to determine the cause of the explosion and blaze. The investigation could take days. They couldn't even say Thursday whether it was accidental or intentional. ...
CLEARWATER — Bill Overcast is good at getting behind bad drivers.
Three times he's followed drunks home, telling police about all of their swerving moves.
He said it's personal. His wife's grandparents were killed by a drunken driver in the 1970s.
So when he came across a car driving erratically Thursday afternoon, he knew what to do.
Overcast, 60, was behind the car, the two of them heading south on N Fort Harrison Avenue from Dunedin. ...
CLEARWATER — Nine months after the car crash that killed 21-year-old Cristobal Cordano, an Ohio man has been charged with DUI manslaughter.
Mario Ghiloni, 26, was served with the warrant Tuesday. Authorities believe Ghiloni's blood alcohol concentration was as high as 0.114 when he made a left turn in front of Cordano's oncoming car on Clearwater Beach last May, causing the fatal crash. ...
The lawsuit arrived at the clerk's office in a large white envelope, looking like any other business dispute.
Plaintiff Alan Boyd Curtis, 58, complained that his partners cut him out of their Clearwater-based business, which marketed time shares online using the Web site TimeSharesQuickSale.com.
Filed Jan. 15 in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, the lawsuit had two unusual aspects: the impressive claim of $51 million in damages and the permanent address of its plaintiff: Jefferson Correctional Institution, North Florida, where Curtis is serving a life sentence for kidnapping and rape. ...
CLEARWATER — A local anesthesiologist has been arrested, accused of threatening former co-workers at Morton Plant Hospital and breaking windows at medical centers in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
Dr. Benjamin Sanchez, 46, showed up at the anesthesiology building at Morton Plant on Wednesday and threatened the employees, according to Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts. She said his presence at the hospital violated an injunction. ...