Largo man tried to ram SUV through MacDill gate, Tampa police say

The SUV was disabled by base security and the driver was taken into custody. The incident was not an act of terrorism or a political statement, police say.
This 2014 photo shows the S Dale Mabry Highway gate onto MacDill Air Force Base. [Times (2014)]
This 2014 photo shows the S Dale Mabry Highway gate onto MacDill Air Force Base. [Times (2014)]
Published February 13

TAMPA — A Largo man used his SUV to ram a gate onto MacDill Air Force Base on Wednesday, police said, resulting in traffic being rerouted from the S Dale Mabry Highway entrance for several hours.

The incident took place shortly before 9 a.m. Timothy Paul Yarbrough, 35, tried to enter the military base through the S Dale Mabry Highway gate and was turned away, said Tampa Police spokesman Steve Hegarty.

Yarbrough, driving a 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV, then rammed the gate, according to police.

The Security Forces Airmen who guard the gate then disabled the vehicle and took Yarbrough into custody, said Air Force 2nd Lt. Allison Mills, a spokeswoman for the 6th Air Mobility Wing, the base host unit. Then they turned Yarbrough over to Tampa police.

“Today our security forces airmen demonstrated they are always ready to make a split-second decision to protect the members of team MacDill,” said Col. Stephen Snelson, the 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, in a statement. “I’m proud of our defenders who protect our national security and our families, in good weather and bad, 365 days a year.”

Yarbrough was arrested on charges of trespassing and felony criminal mischief, police said, and said he would be involuntarily committed for a mental health examination under the Baker Act.

The incident was not an act of terrorism or a political statement, said Hegarty. Tampa police did not disclose any other details about the incident. But records show Yarbrough inflicted more than $10,000 in damages to the gate.

Traffic was diverted to the S MacDill Avenue and Bayshore Bolulevard gates until about 1 p.m. according to the base’s Twitter account.

Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or (813) 225-3112 . Follow @haltman.

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