October 25, 2010
Pinellas Drug Charges – St. Petersburg Lawyer Arrested On Charges Of Trafficking In Oxycodone
A Pinellas County lawyer has been arrested in Clearwater on drug charges for allegedly attempting to smuggle the painkiller Oxycdone into the Pinellas County Jail. The lawyer was arrested Friday at a Clearwater gas station where he was set to make an exchange with undercover deputies. The investigation began following a tip to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s.
The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the sheriff’s received a tip on Thursday that the lawyer was bringing illegal substances into the jail. At that point detectives reached out to the lawyer to and set up a deal where the lawyer would take 50 oxycodone pills into the jail in exchange for 20 of the painkillers for himself. The attorney was arrested at the time of the exchange. The arrest took place at a Mobil gas station located on the 4800 block of Ulmerton Road.
The 31-year-old suspect has been charged with trafficking in oxycodone and possession of a controlled substance. A former Hillsborough County assistant state attorney, the current defense lawyer has been a licensed attorney in Florida for five years. He came under heavy criticism by Hillsborough County Judge William Fuente in 2008 for his defense of a shooting suspect. The trial involved David Rolon who was accused of shooting his neighbor in Sulphur Springs. The judge granted a motion for a new trial based on his in adequate representation of his client. There are no disciplinary actions on record against the man with the Florida Bar despite that judge’s ruling in the case.
In August the man was arrested on spousal battery charges that were eventually dropped. He is currently in the Pinellas County Jail on $105,000 bail on his current Florida felony drug charges. According to another newspaper report the investigation into the attorney is on-going and more information could be forthcoming.
October 11, 2010
Pinellas Traffic Blog – Suspect In Hit And Run In Pinellas Park Still On The Loose After Leaving The Scene
A young woman who was the victim of a hit and run in Pinellas Park hung onto the roof of the car that hit her for about a half a mile after it was leaving the scene of the accident according to police reports. Karri Elizabeth Bush was crossing 86th Avenue in Pinellas Park Sunday night on her bicycle when she hit by what she described as a Toyota SUV.
The 20-year-old Bush landed on top of the Toyota that hit her and held on for dear life for approximately a half-mile. The driver fled on 49th Street after hitting the bicyclist. The driver apparently was being followed after leaving the scene of the accident by a witness. After realizing that, the driver made a hard U-Turn that threw Bush off the roof of the SUV. Bush was taken to the hospital and had a broken leg. Bayfront Medical Center staff described Bush’s condition as stable.
Police are now trying to track down the driver of the Toyota, which they believe would have serious front-end damage and a possible broken windshield. Officer Michael Piacenza is the point of contact for anyone with information on the hit and run. His contact number is (727) 541-0758. Police have a portion of the grill from the Toyota SUV and they are now visiting local area dealerships to try and match the grill to a car.
Bush was recently married and news of the accident was broken to the girl’s mother by a Tampa Tribune reporter who called for a quote about the car crash. Bush and her husband lived with family in Pinellas Park. Her mother said the 20-year-old likes to get tattoos and also likes riding her bike. Bush is one of many bicycle accident victims in the Tampa Bay area as this problem continues to grow.
September 21, 2010
Pinellas DUI News – Woman Arrested For DUI Three Times Has Second Loved One Hit By A Drunk Driver
Tina Pellegrino’s 17-year old daughter was in a coma for 56 days after she was hit by drunk driver nine years ago and now Pellegrino has lost her fiancé in a drunk driver accident. Pellegrino was crossing a Treasure Island street with 49-year-old David Happeney when the father of three was struck by a drunk driver and pronounced dead at Palms of Passadena Hospital.
The St. Pete Times is reporting 39-year-old Ann Marie Nunn has been charged with DUI manslaughter in St. Petersburg for the crash that took Happeney’s life. Nunn allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of 0.263, which is more than triple the legal limit. Police report she had just left a bar before the crash and was not only drunk but also taking prescription medication. Happeney was not inside the crosswalk at the time of the crash. That was also the case with eight of the 14 pedestrians who have been killed on Teasure Island’s Gulf Boulevard or Blind Pas Road. Six of those eight deaths was the result of a drunk driver according to police.
Happeney leaves behind three daughters. They ranged in age from 22 to 11. He had moved to the Tampa Bay area four years ago after losing his job. He rented a hotel room on Treasure Island to celebrate Pellegrino’s 43rd birthday. The couple met three years ago and Happeney told family two years later that he was going to marry Pellegrino. The couple was headed back to the hotel when Nunn allegedly ran the man down.
Pellegrino has a history with DUI that is not limited to just having her loved ones involved in drunk driving crashes. The 43-year-old has been arrested three times for DUI herself. The most recent arrest was in 2006. The St. Petersburg Times tried to reach the woman for comment but they were unable to speak with her.
September 8, 2010
Pinellas County Arrest – Getting Bailed Out Of Pinellas County Jail Just Got A Little Easier
If you happen to find yourself in a Pinellas jail needing bail following a Pinellas County arrest, there is good news for you. The Pinellas County Jail is now accepting credit and debit cards for bail of $750 or less. This is the first jail in the Tampa Bay area to offer this service. According to TampaBay.com there are only three other jails in the state that accept credit or debit cards.
According to Jim Coats, sheriff of Pinellas County, the program was put into place to lower the number of people stuck in jail while awaiting trial. The idea came out of a meeting of the minds between law enforcement, the county clerk, judges and public defenders offices. The limit was set at $750 despite the fact the sheriff wanted it set higher. The sheriff pushed for $1000, the state attorney for $500 so they split the difference.
The program will only apply to a small portion of people in jail as the $750 threshold will include mostly those in jail for minor charges. TampaBay.com looked at the number of people arrested in Pinellas County and sitting in jail on Wednesday. Of the 3,252 people in Pinellas County jail, only 74 would qualify to use their credit or debit cards in order to post bail. The article reported that just over 20 people have utilized the program since August 23.
Most of the crimes that involve a bail of $750 or less are traffic offenses or non-violent misdemeanors. The processing fee will be seven percent and the sheriff’s and clerk’s offices will get ten percent of that cut. The Pinellas County clerk and sheriff see the idea as a winner as will many people who are arrested and need to use credit to get out. The losers under the new plan will most likely be the bail bondsmen who were called on in the past to help these people get out of jail.
August 19, 2010
St Pete DUI News – Frustrated Woman Assaults Officers And Tries To Grab Gun During DUI Arrest
The DUI process is frustrating and complicated but obviously no excuse for an assault on an officer but that is exactly what happened during a St. Pete DUI investigation. The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that a 38-year-old woman is under arrest after turning violent in the midst of a drunk driving arrest.
Kimberly M. Hyde, a St. Petersburg resident, was pulled over Thursday morning. According to police reports Hyde was speeding and she also failed to stop at a red light. Officers reported smelling alcohol when they approached the car. She agreed to perform field sobriety tests and according to the officers she seemed impaired during those tests. At that point she was put in the back of a police cruiser.
Hyde was described as agitated by the article in the St. Pete Times as she sat in the police car. She then reportedly became combative when police tried to move her from one car to another. During the transition she kicked one of the officers two times. She then tried to grab another officer’s gun, which was holstered at the time. She kicked an officer a third time after she was restrained on the ground.
She has been charged with numerous crimes. The list of charges against Hyde include, battery on a law enforcement officer, attempting to deprive a law enforcement officer of his means of protection, DUI and resisting arrest with violence. She is still in jail at last report where she is being held on $15,650 bail. There were no further details provided in the story about the woman’s state of mind or actions after she was taken to jail.
May 12, 2010
Tampa Criminal News – High Speed Chase From Tampa To St. Pete May Result In DUI Drug Charges
A man known as Pop Daddy led police on a high-speed chase from Tampa to St. Petersburg before being arrested on drug possession and fleeing and eluding charges. Artez Leon Hooker fled police on I-275 in Tampa in A BMW convertible driving so fast at times that the police helicopter tracking him couldn’t keep up with the car’s speed. Hooker was eventually found in St. Petersburg after abandoning his car.
According to police reports and a story on TampaBay.com, the chase began at 3:00 a.m. when Hooker was spotted running red lights on Tampa’s Armenia Avenue. Police then attempted to pull Hooker over in his 2004 BMW but he took off at speeds of 120 M.P.H. amid I-275 traffic. He eventually turned off his lights to avoid being caught, abandoned his car and hid in a staircase. The police helicopter was able to track Hooker and lead police on the ground to his location.
Hooker was arrested on felony fleeing and eluding charges and was then also hit with drug charges when police discovered marijuana in the backseat of the police car where Hooker was being held. Although he was not charged with DUI police noted in their arrest report that Hooker seemed to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.
Hooker has a long history of arrests according to TampaBay.com including charges of reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and cocaine possession. As a juvenile Hooker was arrested on numerous charges including robbery and also he was connected to the shooting of a man. Hooker allegedly shot a man three times after an altercation in which his bicycle was cut off. He was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to three years.
April 28, 2010
Pinellas County Warrants – Man Accused Of Fatal Hit-And-Run Has A Warrant Issued For His Arrest in Pinellas
A Pinellas County arrest warrant has been issued for a 22-year-old man named Anthony Bernard Peterson. Peterson is accused of being involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash in August. According to TBO.com, Pinellas Park police believe that the 22-year-old in currently hiding out in St. Petersburg.
The arrest warrant in Pinellas stems from an August 24 car accident that left 60-year-old William Trotter dead. Trotter was allegedly hit by a Chrysler 300 that ran a red light. The collision took place just after 2:00 a.m. and Peterson has since been identified as the driver of the Chrysler. Following the accident with Trotter’s Camry, another Camry was hit by the Chrysler before the people inside the Chrysler left the scene of the accident on foot. One of the passengers in the car stayed behind following the fatal hit-and-run.
Police searched the abandoned Chrysler and found crack cocaine and marijuana. They also found an invitation to a birthday party at a strip club. The party was in honor of the passenger who stayed behind at the scene of the accident.
Police, acting on a tip, located Peterson at Manatee Memorial Hospital. He was there with a broken leg. During that interview Peterson allegedly admitted to being the driver of the car that struck Trotter’s Camry. Peterson claimed he and his friends sped out of the Bottom’s Up club where the birthday party was held due to gunfire at the strip club.
There is no explanation as to why Peterson was not charged immediately after admitting to being the driver of the Chrysler considering the drugs found in the car, the fact he left the scene of the accident and that there was a fatality. Now Pinellas Park police are unable to locate him and are looking for the public’s help in arresting Peterson.
April 23, 2010
Clearwater Hit And Run – Man Convicted Twice For Leaving The Scene Of An Accident Charged With A Third
Clayton J. Harrison has been convicted twice for leaving the scene of an accident and he is now looking at a third hit-and-run charge following an accident in Clearwater that may result in DUI charges as well. The 49-year-old was arrested this week for his involvement in an accident on U.S. 19. Harrison is accused of driving the wrong way on the major road and causing an accident with injuries and then fleeing.
The St. Petersburg Times reports Harrison had a blood-alcohol level of 0.352 according to blood tests yet it is not clear in the article whether or not the man was charged with DUI on top of leaving the scene of an accident. This is not the first time Harrison has been in need of a criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County. In 2000 Harrison was convicted of DUI after being involved in another hit and run crash. He received one year probation following that charge. In 1987 he received six months probation following hit and run crash with injury.
At the scene of his most recent accident police report Harrison was barely able to stand. He was taken to a local hospital and that is where a blood sample was taken. He was cited for leaving the scene at that point as he tried to flee following the crash. Clearwater police report that Harrison hit three vehicles. The last truck he hit ended up with his car lodged and his engine revving to try and escape.
The accident took place March 18 but Harrison was not arrested until this week. Part of the reason according to Clearwater police was that they were waiting the results of the blood test. Harrison has been released from Pinellas County Jail on $5,500 bail.
April 20, 2010
Largo Driver Booked On DUI Manslaughter Charges Due To Marijuana In His System
Karl Merl has been arrested on DUI manslaughter charges in Pinellas County after police received test results that show the Largo man had marijuana in his system at the time of a car accident that killed an 83-year-old pedestrian in 2008. Merl is being held on $50,000 bail in the Pinellas County jail.
The incident took place in November of 2008 near 105th Avenue and Oakhurst Road. According to witnesses Merl made no effort to avoid Kathryn Melnick. Merl’s blood sample showed there was tetrahydrocannabinol on his system. THC is a pyschoactive substance that is found in marijuana.
March 17, 2010
St Pete Sexual Battery Charges Filed In Nursing Home Bathroom Assault
A man who resides at the Heartland nursing home in St Pete is under arrest and has been charged with sexual battery. According to TBO.com Timothy Edward Julian was booked into
Pinellas County Jail after it was reported to police that he sexually assaulted a female resident in a bathroom at the St. Petersburg nursing home.
The incident took place earlier this week and according to reports Julian hit the 30-year-old woman on the head while she was using a bathroom at the nursing home. The assault was reported about an hour and a half later. Police found the alleged perpetrator in his room at Heartland when they arrived on the scene. He was being held on $20,000 bail.