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Stolen Hummer crushes cop cars

A teenage runaway who police say was driving the vehicle is charged with attempted homicide. No officers were seriously hurt.

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN
Published June 29, 2006


photo
[Times photo: Lara Cerri]
This is one of two St. Petersburg police cruisers damaged when the Hummer rode on top of the car's front end.

ST. PETERSBURG - Margaret Jacobs was another runaway, a 15-year-old girl with a worried family.

When police found her Tuesday night, she was behind the wheel of a stolen 2003 Hummer H2. Just minutes later, police said, she drove the 8,000-pound behemoth into two St. Petersburg police cruisers, destroying them. No officers were seriously injured.

Jacobs was arrested on a felony charge of attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer and various other charges. She was being held in the Juvenile Assessment Center; another 15 year-old girl in the Hummer with her was arrested on a misdemeanor charge.

Jacobs' father, Roland Jacobs, 52, said he hoped his daughter would finally be able to get the help she needs for her severe bipolar disorder.

"I'm sorry for what happened and thank God no one was hurt," Jacobs said. "I hope now that someone is going to help us and that this illness is taken seriously."

The night began when a family on Rafael Boulevard noticed its Hummer missing from the driveway, and a set of keys unaccounted for. So they called OnStar, which has a Global Positioning System inside the Hummer.

OnStar notified St. Petersburg police, who tracked the car heading east on 38th Ave N. The Hummer took off, and a patrol car didn't pursue it.

But other police officers tracked the Hummer to an alley near 47th Avenue and 10th Street N. Police spokesman Bill Proffitt said it looked like two doors were open, and that someone had parked the car and bailed.

When an officer parked his cruiser behind the Hummer, and walked up to it, though, he saw two teenage girls inside. They put the car in reverse, and sped backward until they hit his cruiser.

The Hummer left tire tracks on the car as it drove on top of it, police said. Then it accelerated forward and drove away.

Another police cruiser pulled in front of the Hummer in an alley at 50th Ave and 9th Street N. Officer Mike Stano saw the passenger get out, police said.

Then, police say, Jacobs drove the Hummer into his cruiser, peeling away the roof and smashing the engine as she drove on top of the car. Then, the Hummer toppled and fell on its passenger side.

Stano had some minor injuries; his car was totalled.

"It looked like a bomb went off," Proffitt said.

Jacobs told police she rammed into Stano's cruiser on purpose, police said. She told police that she didn't steal the car, but got the keys to it from a friend at a local park. Jacobs doesn't have a valid driver license.

Roland Jacobs said his daughter was once in the gifted program in elementary school, but ran away several months ago after she stopped taking her medication.

She called every few days to let them know she was still alive.

"She's absolutely brilliant, gifted and charismatic, but she hasn't been able to last in school for the last few years," Jacobs said. "She really needs help."

Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

[Last modified July 2, 2006, 08:31:54]


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