Advertisement
  1. News

Man steals front-end loader, leads police on 90-minute chase

St. Petersburg police followed a front-end loader driving erratically near 62nd Avenue N. and 16th Street. The vehicle, a $250,000 Volvo L110G, drove onto side streets and through neighborhoods, hitting curbs and running stop signs. [St. Petersburg Police Department]
Published Dec. 8, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — A man driving a stolen vehicle no faster than 25 mph nevertheless led police on a 90-minute chase through north St. Petersburg neighborhoods Saturday night before they could arrest him.

That's because the vehicle was a 20-ton front-end loader stolen from a construction site and officers had no means to corral it.

Each time officers tried to cut off the machine's path with a police car roadblock, Donald John Clark, 32, the man authorities said was behind the wheel, plowed ahead. Officers were forced to clear a path at the last second in a recurring game of chicken.

The chase, really more of a shadowing of the plodding vehicle, finally came to an end in Shore Acres when the front-end loader ran out of gas. Clark, of St. Petersburg, was taken into custody after he tried to flee from officers, resisted attempts to arrest him and was subdued by a Taser, police said.

Police first received a report of someone driving the front-end loader erratically near 16th Street and 62nd Avenue N, according to police. An officer began following the vehicle, a $250,000 Volvo L110G, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N and used sirens and emergency lights to try and stop the driver, but Clark ignored him. He drove onto side streets and through neighborhoods, hitting curbs and running stop signs.

The pursuit took Clark and responding officers along 38th Avenue N, as well as both north and south on Fourth Street and in and out of adjacent neighborhoods. It came to an end in the 1900 block of Arrowhead Drive NE in Shore Acres, police reported.

Police have determined the vehicle was stolen from a construction site near the Valpak complex west of Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg.

Clark is being held in lieu of $35,000 bail at the Pinellas County jail. He has been arrested on several occasions for operating a vehicle while his license was suspended, disorderly conduct and driving under the influence. He served time in jail for a DUI in 2012.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Former St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love hired Elle Resources as the agency's media and communications firm in 2018. The firm, owned by Michelle Ligon, was paid $5,000 every month, twice the limit on the fixed-price contract, a review by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development found. The review found eight violations of federal regulations and the federal agency has given the Housing Authority until Oct. 29 to explain the violations and come up with a corrective action plan.
    A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development review finds eight violations of federal rules at the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, including “serious lapses” in the award and payment of...
  2. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
A man uses the bike lane on 1st Ave S on Friday, July 13, 2018. St. Petersburg plans to resurface Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street from Fifth Ave. N to 34th Ave. N later this year.  [TIMES (2018)]  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The crash happened on a stretch of roadway the city has worked to make safer for bikers and pedestrians.
  3. Stay with tampabay.com for the latest news and updates. Times
    One woman, 82, was crossing 50th Street, and the other, 58, was struck on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
  4. In this Sept. 13, 2019 file photo, young climate activists march with signs during a rally near the White House in Washington. At left is the Washington Monument. In late September 2019, there will be climate strikes, climate summits, climate debates, a dire climate science report, climate pledges by countries and businesses, promises of climate financial help and more. There will even be a bit of climate poetry, film and music. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) SUSAN WALSH  |  AP
    Organizers expect millions to take part in marches, rallies and sit-ins for what could be the largest ever mass mobilization on climate issues.
  5. Job applicants seek information about temporary positions available with the 2020 Census, during a job fair in Miami on Wednesday designed for people fifty years or older. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    The state added 22,500 jobs in August.
  6. In this March 24, 2018, file photo, crowds of people participate in the March for Our Lives rally in support of gun control in San Francisco. JOSH EDELSON  |  AP
    ‘Guns are always a volatile topic in the halls of the legislature,’ one Republican said.
  7. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said the deputy intentionally struck a car to keep up from spinning into oncoming traffic along Curlew Road.
  8. Stay with tampabay.com for the latest news and updates. Times
    A seriously injured man found near Fowler Avenue and 22nd Street died at a hospital, police said.
  9. Erik Maltais took an unconventional path to becoming CEO of Immertec, a virtual reality company aimed at training physicians remotely. He dropped out of school as a teenager, served in Iraq in the Marine Corps and eventually found his way to Tampa. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Software from Immertec can bring physicians into an operating room thousands of miles away.
  10. Hurricane Jerry is expected to begin moving to the north on Saturday. A tropical wave is expected to develop off the coast of Africa over the weekend. National Hurricane Center
    The system is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash floods in the eastern Caribbean.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement