Man Driving Front Loader Flees From Officers in St Petersburg
December 7, 2014
Shortly after 8:00 PM on Saturday, December 6, 2014, the St. Petersburg Police Department received a call reporting that a man operating a front loader was driving erratically in the area of 62 Avenue North and 16 Street. The complainant followed the loader as it drove to the area of Dr. M.L. King Street North where a responding officer got in behind and attempted to stop it. The man driving the loader disregarded the officer’s emergency lights and sirens, driving into adjacent neighborhoods, going over curbs and running stop signs.
As other officers began to arrive in the area, the loader operator continued to ignore efforts to stop him and made his way to 4th Street via 38th Avenue North, driving first south, then back north. During that time he made a number of forays into adjacent neighborhoods and then went back on to the main streets.
While his speed never exceeded 25 mph, officers had no immediate means to stop the loader and attempted to just maintain a visual on it until an opportunity arose to either disable it in some way or the driver abandoned it.
The loader eventually made its way out to the Shore Acres neighborhood via 62nd Avenue North and began driving onto the various residential streets in that area. On several occasions the loader operator drove directly at police cruisers stopped at intersections attempting to impede his path, narrowly missing them as they moved out of his way.
Fortunately, over an hour and half after the original call came in, the loader came to a stop after running out of fuel in 1900 block of Arrowhead Drive NE in Snell Isle. The male driver attempted to flee and resisted officer’s efforts to subdue him at which point a Tazer was deployed and he taken into custody.
St. Petersburg police did not have any reports of any property damage or injury at the time of the press release and they are still attempting to determine who the owner of the front loader is and where it was taken from at this time.
It appears the subject arrested was 32 year-old Donald Clark of St. Petersburg. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, Aggravated fleeing and eluding, grand theft from a construction site along with trespassing on a construction site.
The front loader was a Volvo L110G having a value of over $250,000 and weighing 20 tons and was taken from a construction site at 2750 Valpak Avenue in St. Petersburg.
IONTB is hearing that Clark may have taken the front end loader after being fired from a local job site.
More information will be provided if made available.