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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff writers

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2001


    Maximo teacher aide arrested

    ST. PETERSBURG -- A 19-year-old teacher's aide who helped teach kindergarten at Maximo Elementary School was arrested Thursday because he impregnated a 14-year-old girlfriend, police said.

    Cory James Ware, who has worked at the school since September, is charged with lewd and lascivious battery, a felony.

    Police say Ware impregnated the girl in January at his home at 1516 16th St. S. Police had previously investigated whether Ware had a sexual relationship with the girl, but no charges were filed, said St. Petersburg police spokesman George Kajtsa.

    The investigation began again when the girl became pregnant and her parents called police.

    Police have no reports of Ware doing anything suspicious at Maximo Elementary. However, school officials plan to question Ware once he bails out of jail, said Pinellas schools spokesman Ron Stone. Ware cannot return to work until his criminal case is over. If convicted, officials said, he will be fired.

    Swiftmud gains 1, retains 2

    Gov. Jeb Bush Thursday reappointed two members of the board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and appointed a Tampa businesswoman to an open seat.

    Margarita N. Dominguez, 49, vice president for energy support services for the Tampa Electric Co., will join the board. Reappointed to new terms were Swiftmud's chairman, Ron Johnson, 45, of Lake Wales, vice president and general counsel for E.R. Jahna Industries Inc.

    Also reappointed was Edward C. Chance, 58, of Palmetto, a retiree.

    More charges keep man in jail

    TAMPA -- Thomas Miller's father went to Wal-Mart on Thursday morning to buy Dockers and a white T-shirt for his son, who has been wearing jail house orange since October.

    He thought his son would be released from jail after a state appeals court Wednesday overturned Miller's manslaughter conviction and granted a new trial in the nationally known "stop sign" case.

    But a circuit judge denied a request Thursday to release Miller from jail while he awaits trial on an unrelated charge of drunken driving and drug possession. Prosecutors opposed his release since Miller had violated the terms of his bond once before.

    Miller, 24, Nissa Baillie, 25, and Christopher Cole, 24, were convicted in 1997 of pulling up a stop sign in rural Hillsborough and causing a car wreck that killed three people. A circuit judge had allowed them to remain free on bail while an appeals court reviewed the case. But last October, a judge revoked Miller's bail after a drunken driving arrest landed him back in jail.

    The State Attorney's Office has not decided whether to put the three on trial a second time.

    Driver arrested after chase

    MADEIRA BEACH -- A 29-year-old Tennessee man was in jail Thursday after authorities said he rammed a police car Wednesday night near John's Pass, then led police on a chase up Gulf Boulevard to Clearwater.

    Patrick Kelley Morris is charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, aggravated battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence.

    About 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, a Treasure Island officer saw a Honda Accord swerving on Gulf and stopped it on 131st Avenue, a cul-de-sac near John's Pass Village. The Honda turned around and accelerated at the police car, hitting its fender, police said. Police cars and a helicopter chased the Honda north on Gulf at about 45 mph to Clearwater's Memorial Causeway, where its tires were punctured by spiked bars laid across the road.

    Morris ran from the Honda near the Pinellas County Courthouse but was tackled and subdued by several officers.

    3 more charged in bomb hoaxes

    TAMPA -- Three more Hillsborough County students were charged Thursday with making bomb threats to their schools.

    Sheriff's Lt. Rod Reder said a 16-year-old student at King High School was arrested at 11:30 a.m. after he approached one of his teachers about 9 a.m. and said he was going to blow up the school. Reder said the student didn't give a reason. The student was charged with making a false bomb threat.

    East Bay High School was evacuated Thursday afternoon when a bomb threat was called in from a pay phone in the school. Shortly after, deputies charged a 15-year-old student with calling in the threat, and another 15-year-old student with solicitation to report a false bomb threat for daring his friend to make the call.

    Bloomingdale and Riverview high schools were also evacuated Thursday because of bomb threats. School Superintendent Earl Lennard plans to ask the School Board for harsher penalties for students who make bomb threats. Under his proposal, the penalty would be a two-year expulsion.

    Council approves ballot recount

    ST. PETERSBURG -- The City Council agreed Thursday to manually recount a portion of the votes in the city's mayoral primary, Florida's first major election since the November presidential fiasco.

    City Council Chairman Larry Williams, who narrowly finished third and failed to advance to the March 27 general election, was put in the unusual spot of having to ask his fellow council members for the recount. Attorney Rick Baker and council member Kathleen Ford were the top two vote-getters in the primary.

    Convicted crack dealer shot

    ST. PETERSBURG -- A 26-year-old man with a history of dealing crack cocaine was in critical condition Thursday after being shot in the head.

    Robert Larry Booth was shot about 3 a.m. in a house at 534 27th Ave. S in the Harbordale neighborhood, police said. Court records list Booth's address as 525 27th Ave. S.

    Several neighbors called the police to report gunshots. Police officers checked the house and found Booth. Booth underwent surgery Wednesday at Bayfront Medical Center. No one was arrested in the shooting.

    Between 1992 and 2000, Booth was repeatedly arrested on charges such as selling crack, battery on a police officer and driving with a suspended license.

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