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By AMBER MOBLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published January 1, 2008
[Kathleen Flynn | Times]
TAMPA - A police pursuit of a stolen vehicle ended dramatically in a pileup Monday morning.
The incident began at 10:51 a.m., when On-Star alerted officers to a stolen GMC Acadia. Officers followed it to a Citgo at 34th Street and Hillsborough Avenue, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.
One unmarked cruiser parked in the gas station lot as another was driving up, McElroy said.
When two officers walked up to the stolen vehicle, the driver "gunned it, attempting to kill the officers," McElroy said.
Officer Rodney Rivera, 38, opened fire, hitting the Acadia but none of its occupants, who fled east on Mohawk Avenue. The driver and a passenger jumped out of the moving vehicle. The remaining passenger took the wheel and attempted to ram a sergeant who was pursuing in another car, McElroy said.
The Acadia returned to Hillsborough, where it hit a median, flipped and landed in the eastbound lane, hitting a Toyota Tundra and a Buick Rendezvous, McElroy said.
The Toyota driver, Jorge Hernandez, 48,, his son Carlos, 2, and passenger Waleska Betancourt, 53, were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in good condition.
The Buick driver, Augustine Bautista Jr., 35, was not taken to a hospital, McElroy said.
Arrested were Antwan Adam Pleas, 20, of 402 E Ohio Ave.; Clinton Marshall, 19, of 9814 10th St.; and a 15-year-old, who was taken to St. Joseph's.
Tampa Police Department policy defines a police pursuit as "the chase of a vehicle by a law enforcement vehicle when the driver of the subject vehicle clearly exhibits intent to avoid arrest by using a vehicle to flee."
Pursuits are authorized under the policy when the officer "reasonably believes" that someone in the pursued vehicle has committed or attempted to commit:
- Any felony involving violence or the threat of violence to a person;
- Auto theft; or
- Felony firearms offenses.
It adds, "pursuits shall not continue past the point in time when the danger to the public or the officer outweighs the need to immediately apprehend the suspect."
For more information, read the 24-page policy here: http://www.tampagov.net/dept_police/Files/PDF/sop_386.pdf
1. On-Star alerts Tampa police Monday Morning that a stolen GMC Acadia is in the Kenneth Court Apartments.
2. Undercover officers follow the vehicle to a gas station at 34th Street and Hillsborough Avenue and approach on foot. The driver hits the gas. Police shoot at the Acadia, hit no one, and suspects flee in it.
3. The driver and a passenger leave the vehicle but another passenger takes the wheel. A police sergeant's cruiser crashes into a fence to avoid a head-on collision with the stolen Acadia.
4. Police follow it west on Hillsborough Avenue, where, about 11:06 a.m., the second driver loses control and flips, hitting a Toyota and a Buick.
[Last modified December 31, 2007, 22:22:15]