Note: This is all very preliminary information involving a complex incident with multiple law enforcement agencies involved. This information is subject to change as additional information becomes available
Officers from multiple agencies, including Clearwater Police, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, St. Petersburg Police and Florida Highway Patrol were involved in investigating a series of crimes that started in Clearwater and ended in St. Petersburg.
The incident began on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at approximately 5:31 a.m. after officers from the Clearwater Police Department received a call for a hit and run crash that occurred in the area of Ft. Harrison Avenue and Seminole Street. At the same time, an officer reported a driver operating a Chevy pickup truck in an extremely reckless manner in the Clearwater area. The pickup was pulling a small utility trailer and matched the description of the vehicle involved in the hit and run crash with a Nissan sedan near Seminole Street. Prior the crash, the suspect committed a burglary while attempting to obtain a firearm at a home off Pleasant Street. He was only able to obtain a camo colored airsoft replica AK-47 style gun according to the arrest documentation. He also kicked in the front door of a friend’s home on Osceola Avenue in search of cigarettes and a firearm.
As Clearwater officers were notifying the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy encountered this suspect, identified as 32 year-old Jamie Smith of Clearwater, at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Seminole Boulevard. The suspect challenged the deputy by exiting the vehicle and “charged the driver’s side of the deputy’s vehicle with closed fists and an angry disposition.” The deputy was “forced” to back up his vehicle 200 feet to “avoid the assault.” Smith then reentered the vehicle, continued driving and ran the red light and continued southbound in the truck. The suspect ultimately crashed on Tyrone Boulevard just east of Park Street at approximately 6:45 a.m. The crash downed a utility line which remained on Tyrone Boulevard, resulting in a prolonged closure.
A victim involved in the crash was operating a Dodge pickup truck pulling a trailer with a boat. According to arrest information, Smith carjacked the driver’s pickup truck and drove off with the boat and trailer in tow. In the process of the carjacking the victim, he “began striking him repeatedly in the head/neck area.” He proceeded to flee eastbound on Tyrone Boulevard and lost control swerving to avoid oncoming traffic near 9th Avenue. The boat was forced off the trailer and onto the ground along Tyrone Boulevard. The suspect continued to drive eastbound with the trailer detaching in the roadway along Tyrone Boulevard.
Then, he tried to carjack another vehicle, pulling on the door handle, but was unsuccessful. Police say he purposely targeted and struck the vehicle in order to commit another carjacking. Police arrived on scene as he was attempting to remove the driver from the vehicle. Smith ran off and knocked on the door of a random house in the 5200 block of Dartmouth Ave. North. Smith forced his way inside as officers were chasing.
K-9 units from both the St. Petersburg Police and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office quickly began to track the suspect. The K-9’s seemed to converge on the home in the 5200 block of Dartmouth Avenue.
After quite a bit of time, the homeowner was able to escape through a bedroom window and exited the home and confirmed that Smith was inside. Crews from St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue evaluated and treated the homeowner at the scene for injuries to his head, arms and abdomen. The homeowner reported he was assaulted by Smith who armed himself with a silver metal baseball bat. The bat was wrestled from the homeowner after he was placed in a chokehold by Smith.
Smith eventually exited the home and was taken into custody. He was transported to the hospital for unknown injuries and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. He is facing charges of leaving the scene of a crash, petit theft, burglary, carjacking, attempted carjacking, assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery, resisting an officer, and home invasion robbery
Arrest records show that Smith was arrested a few days ago for simple battery in an incident on Clearwater Beach. He was released from jail Thursday evening. Upon his release, he reportedly was outfitted with a GPS monitor by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.