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Driver gets probation after chase ends in unlucky turn

A man accused of trying to flee a traffic crash but turning instead into the Largo Police Department parking lot was given probation Thursday after he pleaded guilty to charges of careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Roel Pena Sevilla, 20, rear-ended a car at Missouri Avenue and Rosery Road on Aug. 29 and then drove away, heading for Highland Avenue. He whizzed past a Largo police officer who was on his way home from work. The officer chased him, and, in what appeared to be an evasive move, Sevilla flicked his left turn signal on.

Instead, Sevilla turned right. Unfortunately for him, he drove into the Largo Police Department parking lot and was arrested.

Sevilla pleaded no contest to the charges Thursday. A judge found him guilty and ordered that Sevilla be put on probation for a year.

He also was ordered to pay $225 in court costs and fees, as well as restitution to the driver of the car he rear-ended.

Former booking deputy

pleads guilty to theft

LARGO _ A former booking deputy for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office who was accused of stealing money pleaded guilty to a grand theft charge this week.

Zema J. Florence Jr. was charged with stealing $448 from bailiff Thomas Fitzgibbon after the bailiff was arrested on a drunken driving charge a year ago.

Fitzgibbon had about $1,019 with him when he was booked into the jail, according to the police officers who counted the money. But when Fitzgibbon bailed out of jail, he was $448 short.

On July 19, Sheriff Everett Rice fired Florence, a 20-year department veteran and a corporal at the jail, after an administrative review board sustained charges against the booking deputy.

Fitzgibbon, a 16-year Sheriff's Office veteran, was suspended for 10 days after his arrest.

He later pleaded no contest to the drunken driving charge and received a year of probation and fines.