Crash injures 2, including detective

Published May 22, 2007

Two men, one of them a Clearwater police detective, were injured Monday afternoon in a crash on Clearwater-Largo Road south of Belleair Road, authorities said.

Police said there were no witnesses to the accident that occurred shortly after 2 p.m. Damage at the scene indicated the front of a silver Toyota Camry collided with the driver's side of a blue convertible, leaving it balanced on three wheels with a broken windshield.

Katie Black, 37, said she was shooting pool at the Inglewood Inn Bar when she heard a loud boom at the corner of Clearwater-Largo Road and Myrtle Avenue. She ran outside and saw the only occupant of the convertible sprawled across the back seat.

The man, whose identity had not been released late Monday, was bleeding from the head and appeared semiconscious. He was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with what authorities said were serious injuries.

The driver of the Camry, Clearwater police Detective Rich Kelly, was taken to Morton Plant Hospital by ambulance. His injuries were not believed to be serious, said Clearwater police Sgt. Gregory Stewart.

Kelly, 37, is a nine-year veteran of the force and a former Officer Friendly, a police officer assigned to teach safety in elementary schools. He was on his way to work when the crash occurred, Stewart said.

The crash is being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol. After that, the Clearwater police will look at the crash to determine whether it could have been avoided.

"That's a bad corner, " said Debbie Phillips, 57, who stood watching the accident scene Monday. "I'm familiar with this area. It's kind of dangerous."