1. Archive



A helicopter, numerous city police and sheriff's patrol cars, and police dogs swarmed downtown Tuesday night as they searched for a man accused of carjacking a pickup and crashing it into two buildings.

Police said that about 9 p.m., Larry Donell Jones, 44, approached a 17-year-old boy who was driving his pickup in the 600 block of Spruce Street.

Jones jumped into the victim's vehicle and brandished a handgun, police said. The boy, whose name is being withheld because of his age, struggled for the gun and hit Jones in the face, knocking him to the ground. The victim then ran and told authorities he had been carjacked.

Jones took off in the pickup, crashing it into a building at 513 N Garden Ave, police say. The truck kept going and was spotted by police traveling south on Pennsylvania Avenue. It crashed into the AAMCO Transmission shop at 201 S Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. and the driver took off.

A female passenger in the vehicle was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg as a precaution. Police have not said whether or how she is involved in the incident.

Police dogs tracked Jones to 1123 Gould St., where he was found hiding on the roof, police say. He was taken to Morton Plant Hospital for treatment and then to Pinellas County Jail, where he remained Friday in lieu of $120,500 bail.

Jonathan Abel, Times staff writer


Council agrees to buy clubhouse for $2.1M

Over the mayor's objections, the City Council has decided to buy the clubhouse of the Clearwater Country Club for about $2.1-million.

Council members did so reluctantly, after debating whether it's really necessary to make this purchase to ensure Clearwater won't lose control of the city-owned golf course the clubhouse serves. The measure passed Wednesday on a 3-2 vote.

"I think it's an important piece of property for the city," said council member Carlen Petersen, who, along with fellow board members John Doran and George Cretekos, voted to buy it.

Council member Paul Gibson and Mayor Frank Hibbard voted against the purchase .

At issue is the unusual arrangement at the country club off Drew Street just northeast of downtown.

The city owns the nearly 100-acre public course there, but not the clubhouse, restaurant, pro shop and parking lot. Those are managed by the nine-member board of Clearwater Country Club Management Inc., which has owned those 6 acres for 85 years.

But the country club has been having trouble paying its mortgage, leading to fears that a bank would foreclose on the clubhouse and sell it to another buyer.

Mike Brassfield, Times staff writer