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Suspect flees when wreck ends pursuit

Published December 6, 2003

TARPON SPRINGS - An early morning police pursuit through downtown and the Sponge Docks ended with the wreck of an unmarked police cruiser Friday and an unsuccessful helicopter search for the suspect.

The pursuit reached speeds of 45 to 50 mph, said police Captain Bob Kochen, but no one was injured.

Officer Robert White saw a silver 2001 4-door Honda Accord run a stop sign at Grosse Avenue S and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive about 1:21 a.m., police said.

Before White could stop the Honda for running the stop sign, its driver stopped in the middle of the road and tried to back into his cruiser, then sped off. White turned on his lights and followed the Accord.

Detective Dan Parrish's unmarked police car and a third cruiser joined the pursuit. The driver of the Accord tried again to ram White and the unmarked cruiser, police said.

The pursuit ended a few minutes later when Parrish's unmarked car skidded on a wet patch of pavement and ran into a concrete pillar of a wrought iron gate at 170 N Spring Blvd., police said. Kochen said about $2,500 in damage was done to the unmarked car.

Police later found the Accord in the parking lot of Riverside Motel Apartments at 777 Roosevelt Blvd. Police said Friday they have a possible suspect in the case but did not release his name. Police said the Honda was not stolen and was registered to Diedra Jowers, 34, of Port Richey. She said she did not give the possible suspect permission to use her car.

A Pinellas County sheriff's helicopter and police dog looked unsuccessfully for the driver around the Sponge Docks. At 3:09 a.m. the officers returned to their normal duty.

[Last modified December 6, 2003, 01:33:58]

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