ST. PETERSBURG – A 2-year-old boy was injured in a speed-chase, when his father allegedly tried to elude police in a stolen vehicle.
Derrick Mims, 21, will be charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding police and child endangerment, all felonies, according to Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent.
The driver led a Gulfport police officer on a chase, reaching speeds up to 90 mph on Interstate 275 before exiting into a residential neighborhood in St. Petersburg and crashing into a PSTA bus, according to Chief Vincent.
Vincent says the driver had three passengers in the stolen rental including his 2-year-old son. The toddler was discovered in the car after the crash and was taken to All Children's Hospital.
Vincent says Officer Kellington was not aware that a child was in the stolen Toyota.
The driver, Mims, was treated for minor injuries at a hospital. The front seat passenger was being treated for serious injuries as of 9 p.m. Monday night.
A third passanger was seen fleeing the crash. He is being described as a black male, 20-25 years old, wearing a ball cap, red t-shirt and blue jean shorts.
Timeline of the pursuit:
Vincent says the driver, Mims, was spotted in a stolen rental vehicle by Officer Jesse Kellington just before 6 p.m. Monday night near Newton Ave and 51st St. S. When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver fled, and led the officer on a high-speed chase on Interstate 275.
The driver exited at the 28th St. S. exit and slowed down to 40 miles per hour but did not stop, according to Vincent.
Additional officers and a helicopter were enroute to help when the driver crashed into a PSTA bus at 11th Ave S and 25th St. S. in St. Petersburg. The bus then crashed into an apartment building in Jordan Park. No one was injured in the building and it is not known of the apartment was empty at the time of the crash, according to Chief Vincent.
Six people, including the driver, were on board the bus. The driver was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.
Stolen rental car:
The vehicle was reported stolen to St. Petersburg Police on Sunday July 8 around 1:30 a.m. from a house on 3rd Avenue North. Tiffany Grimes, of Gulfport, rented the Toyota through Avis Car Rental and parked the car at a friends house. Grimes, left the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked, according to St. Petersburg Police. Police say she was in the house for about 10 minutes and when she came back out, the rental was gone.
The St. Petersburg Police Department will investigate the traffic crash. The Gulfport Police Department will conduct a pursuit review as standard procedure.
Gulfport officers are authorized to pursue when they have reason to believe the driver of a vehicle has committed a forcible felony. Burglary is a forcible felony that is a lesser-included offense associated with grand theft auto, according to Vincent.