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Chase of suspected thief ends in crash

Published March 9, 2006

TAMPA - Two lives collided at Cherry Street and Himes Avenue on Tuesday morning, landing a 25-year-old man in jail and leaving a 58-year-old woman critically injured.

Around dawn Tuesday at 6009 Blossom Ave., Jacquelyne Sosa, 25, saw a man trying to break into her Nissan Maxima. She called 911.

She also called her husband, Jaime, who left work to rush home. On the way, police said, he saw the Toyota Camry in which Clifton Devon Jacobs had fled the Sosa home. Sosa wheeled around his Lincoln Navigator and gave chase. The vehicles sped south on Dale Mabry Highway and drove through a grass shoulder around traffic at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

A Tampa police officer tried to stop Sosa, but Sosa signaled him toward the Camry, said police spokesman Joe Durkin.

Jacobs turned east on Cherry Street, ran a stop sign at Himes Avenue and plowed into a 2005 Toyota sport utility vehicle driven by Arlene Prellezo, 58, of Tampa. That sent her vehicle into the path of a 1998 Ford F250 driven by Ronald Strickland, 51.

Police said Prellezo was ejected from the SUV and suffered severe head injuries. She was listed in critical condition Wednesday evening at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Jacobs tried to run off, police said, but officers caught him. They found stolen electronic equipment from Sosa's Nissan in Jacobs' car, as well as a pistol. Jacobs faces multiple charges.

Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report.

[Last modified March 9, 2006, 02:45:12]

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