Deputies throughout Florida handed out more than 15,000 warnings and 7,000 tickets during a four-week operation focusing on pedestrian safety.
Organized by the Florida Sheriffs Association, operation Safe Steps involved 18 sheriff's offices and aimed at reducing the uptick in pedestrian-related crashes throughout the state.
From 2011 to 2013, nearly 1,500 died and 18,000 others were injured in 25,900 pedestrian crashes, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a news conference Monday....
ST. PETERSBURG — Christine Mayers dreamed of her dead son the night before a teen girl involved in his slaying faced her prison sentence.
In court Friday, she described how Jeremy Mayers, glowing and dressed in white, hugged her and told her everything would be okay.
Mayers, surrounded by family, watched as circuit judge Joseph Bulone ordered Brittany Detwiler, who previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, to serve 15 years in prison....
12/04/14 Human Interest
LARGO — Monica Fowler is a regular at Taylor Park, where she walks or takes photos of wildlife a few times a week. But Wednesday morning, Fowler spotted something hanging from a pipe near the 53-acre lake's seawall.
It was a white bulldog mix, its paws clinging to the pipe, the rest of its body submerged in murky water.
She saw a car heading her way and flagged it down.
"He could have just not even stopped when I was waving at him," said Fowler, a retired geologist. "He doesn't know who I am or what's going on."...
CLEARWATER — Steven Raynard Jones walked away from the apartment he shared with his wife as flames inside killed her two cats.
Hours later, Pinellas sheriff's deputies located Jones, 45, at the El Rio Motel off Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg. He denied setting fire to his home in the unincorporated Clearwater area, but Quincy was not fooled, police records show.
The 8-year-old Labrador mix with big floppy ears and bright brown eyes sniffed Jones' clothes and sat down, indicating he'd detected fuel....
CLEARWATER — Police are still searching for the driver of a dark-colored SUV that struck and killed a 22-year-old motorcyclist on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard last month.
Detectives have one witness and one video surveillance tape. They've checked with dealerships in Clearwater, and soon in Dunedin, for any SUVs coming in for crash repairs, said Sgt. Michael Walek, who oversees the traffic homicide investigators....
11/25/14 Public Safety
LARGO — Inadequate surge protection, faulty grounding and baby ospreys are to blame for an outage of Pinellas County's 911 system for 45 minutes this summer, according to a report released Tuesday.
The analysis, conducted by the county and released in draft form, also details the causes of other problems at the new 911 center, including reports of busy signals and a partial power loss earlier this month....
LARGO — During Sgt. Ron Wehr's first week on duty at the Pinellas County jail, an inmate provided this tip: Contraband was being smuggled in by a nylon cord.
Skeptical, Wehr scanned the outside of the jail one July morning in 2013. He glanced toward the flag pole near the public lobby and saw a thin line on the wall. Detectives yanked on the cord and a grocery bag containing marijuana, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and lighters tumbled down....
Three Pinellas Sheriff's deputies have been involved in traffic crashes, all resulting in injuries, within the past week.
The latest crash occurred Wednesday night in Clearwater when deputy Crystal Trentmann was heading west on Drew Street near N Glenwood Avenue in a marked Chevy Impala on the right curb lane. As she tried to make a U-turn to stop a car for a traffic violation, Trentmann did not see a Ford Explorer in the left lane and struck the car's rear, the Sheriff's Office said....
DUNEDIN — Michael Case wanted to hurt himself with the steak knife in his hand, so his girlfriend called 911 just after midnight Monday and restrained him on the floor.
When deputy Jose Berrios-Collazo walked into the trailer inside the Oak Bend Mobile Home Park at 801 Main St., he stepped on Case's arm and began to retrieve the Taser from his belt. Suddenly, Case forced his girlfriend aside and lunged at the deputy, authorities said....
LARGO — Detectives made arrests in two drug smuggling schemes involving sealed envelopes and a McDonald's Egg McMuffin wrapper at the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday.
In one case, they got a tip about drugs being dropped off outside the video visitation center.
Recorded telephone conversations at the jail revealed that inmate Stephenie Grove, 26, told fiance Robert Stephen Lytle, 47, to drop off pills outside video visitation on Thursday....
LARGO — A 6-week-old girl who was struck by a car earlier this week as her mother tried to cross Missouri Avenue died Wednesday morning, police said.
About 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sarah Arlia, 32, was crossing the street near Commerce Drive S with her 5-year-old son, Benjamin Garguilo, and her baby daughter, Serena Arlia, when a 2003 BMW heading south struck the family.
They were not in a crosswalk, Largo police said. The driver of the BMW, Sandra Neki, 65, will not face charges, according to police....
It was still dark when Pinellas sheriff's deputy Kim Kilian started her shift Saturday morning, except for the pair of headlights beaming in front of her on McMullen-Booth Road.
After the initial shock faded, she realized a driver was heading north in the southbound lanes.
"This is bad," she thought to herself. "This is serious, and I need to get this driver stopped as fast as possible."...
For months, Ronald Delaet rented a P.O. box at the post office on Safety Harbor's quaint, lamp-lit Main Street, just blocks away from the public library.
He was picking up a package of 99.7 grams of heroin Sept. 19 when detectives arrested him after receiving a tip from federal authorities. When they searched the Clearwater home where he lived, investigators discovered that Delaet was running his own drug empire that produced thousands of dollars and spanned nearly a dozen states....
Stephanie Otero sat on a bucket behind a duplex with a needle and two plastic bags of heroin.
She was addicted to Roxicodone, also known as roxies, but the pills were hard to come by that summer day last year in Tampa.
"I had never tried heroin in my life," Otero said, but she'd heard it had the same effect as roxies.
Since the eradication of pill mills and law enforcement's crackdown on prescription drugs in recent years, authorities in Tampa Bay are now seeing a resurgence in heroin, an older and sometimes deadlier drug....
11/06/14 Public Safety
The 46-year-old man had just lost his job, wanted to kill himself, and kept a gun in his closet.
Responding officers found his suicide note and chatted with him about his problems, how he needed money to send his daughter off to college, how he wasn't sure what was next. They offered to take him to Morton Plant Hospital for an evaluation.
"We need to fix this," Pinellas Sheriff's Deputy Sheila Langlais told him, "and get you some help."...