tampabay.com

New nuggets in Carolina cheerleader bar incident posted on Web

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published February 2, 2006


Tampa Bay continues to garner national attention as the place where pretty young women are arrested for doing bad things.

And no, this time it's not about Debra Lafave.

Less than two weeks after former Carolina Panthers cheerleader Angela Keathley pleaded guilty to her part in a November incident inside the women's restroom at Banana Joe's bar, TheSmokingGun.com has posted the Tampa Police Department's detailed report.

Web surfers can read all about the confrontation involving Keathley, 26, and Victoria Renee Thomas, 21.

The report includes the statements of three witnesses who told police they stood in a long line waiting to use the restroom, while Keathley stood on a toilet in a stall as Thomas stood on the floor, facing her.

The longer Keathley and Thomas stayed inside the stall and made "noises consistent with sexual activity," the more agitated the women in line got.

They yelled, "Go get a room for that," and they called them "whores," according to the police report.

Thomas walked out of the stall and punched patron Melissa Holden in the face and chest, police said.

Some of this has already been reported, but the police document contains a few new nuggets.

For example, Officer Richard Harrell wrote that Thomas and Keathley were "intoxicated, out of control and difficult to deal with."

Thomas gave police the name of another Panthers cheerleader, and she told Harrell that her bruised right hand and red left knuckles were the result of a volleyball injury.

After she was handcuffed and put into the back of a patrol car, she squeezed her "very thin" wrists free, and tried again several times to get out of them on the way to the county jail, Harrell wrote.

Later, at Thomas' request, the officer called her boyfriend in Charlotte, N.C.

Thomas has denied she was having sex in the stall, but both women were fired from the Topcats cheerleading squad.

Keathley pleaded guilty last month to disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer and will serve six months of probation.

Thomas is expected to have a hearing soon on one count of misdemeanor battery, and a felony charge of giving a false name and causing harm to another.

She's also being sued by Holden.

Oh, and if you're really into the Panthers story, there are now $20 T-shirts for sale commemorating the incident.

At www.topkittens.com you can order a T-shirt featuring a drawing of two cheerleaders holding hands.

It reads, Carolina Topcats Buddy System.

AIRPORT OFFICERS REWARDED: The four Tampa International Airport police officers involved in the fatal June standoff against an armed man trying to kidnap his ex-girlfriend have been awarded $1,500 each for "acts of heroism."

Lts. Kevin Perridge and Robert Dixon and Officers Richard Hackett and David Nieves are among the dozens of Hillsborough County Aviation Authority employees recognized as part of the annual Individual/Team Recognition Awards.

On June 27 they confronted William Gaul, 51, in the parking garage at TIA.

He was about to drive off with 38-year-old Lori Nielsen, after forcing her into his blue Dodge pickup truck.

Nielsen escaped from the truck, and Gaul shot her, killing her.

Then Gaul fired at the officers after they ordered him to drop his gun. They fired back, hitting him several times. He later died.

Airport spokeswoman Brenda Geoghagan said the money is meant to reward the officers for bravery and quick thinking in a very dangerous situation.

"They were fired at," said Geoghagan.

Also awarded were Officer Jose Robles and Sgt. Teri Annandale, who got $1,000 each.

They helped deliver a baby in March, when the Spanish-speaking mother and father got lost on their way to Tampa General Hospital and showed up at the airport post office.

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com