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Police Chase Hits 90 Mph With Toddler In Stolen Car

Police say that Derrick Mims was driving in a stolen vehicle as he tried to elude police in a high-speed chase. His 2-year-old was in the car.

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.

Ongoing investigation:

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.

Kevin Moore July 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM
90mph on 275? How about very close to that on 51st s? Saw the beginning of this chase, and one unmarked police car trying to catch up to the two police cars that were already on this guys tail was flying! Just glad no one was coming out of a side street, they would have had no time. The lead pursuit didn't go by the house as fast.
Cherlene Willis July 10, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Kevin, Thanks for sharing your eye witness account! - Cherlene
Vanessa Blake July 10, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Reading what Tiffany Grimes stated to police just does make any sense!! When someone tells you something and it doesn't make sense..it's either a lie or you need to take a second look at the person who told the story. Where do you do this at..... leave your keys in your car at 1:30 am with the doors unlocked>>>>Australia!! Doesn't make sense! From a reliable source Ms. Tiffany Grimes has been renting cars for profit and lied to authorities about car being stolen...the truth will come out in the END!!! If, Miss Grimes would not have lied to authorities..there would have NEVER been a chase...Nevetheless, Gulfport pursued with vengence...with not contact with St. Pete authorities. mmmmmm! Why?
Jeff Jeff July 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM
St. Pete police were notified, but when it hit the interstate, FHP was notified. The chase then ended up back into Gulfport jurisdiction. By the time, St. Pete and FHP as well as PCSO could get cars in the area, the crash already occurred.
CJ July 11, 2012 at 12:11 AM
I challenge ''anyone'' to sit along 15th Ave S , from 49th to 34th...and ''be amazed'' at how fast and how often cars come by at racetrack speeds ( 75mph +). I am not exagerating. It will shock you. Many of those cars speeding by are cop cars. Don't get me wrong...I am 100% ''for'' the cops chasing these people down. Part of the problem is these people racing around think the cops will not chase them. Sure..it's dangerous for the cops to chase them..but we simply can't hand over the streets to criminals, What make me mad, is that a few speed bumps and a traffice light or two would slow everyone down on 15th Ave S. I live along a stretch of this road that has had ''many'' accidents from high speeds. These have occurred over many, many years according to the old timers in the area. Many of these accidnets have resulted in flipped cars, etc. My own yard has had 3 devastating wrecks right in it or right in the street. You can't get any more first had than that. My surrounding neighbors have ahd the same happen in front of thier house also. It is hard to beleive they won't do something to make these high speeds impossbile. The speed bumps seem to do that very well. We are new around her and at first, we hated those things...but now I love them.
GioVanni July 11, 2012 at 01:38 AM
The Gulfport Police were wrong for the pursuing those boys outside of their jurisdiction. Even the Mayor said they screwed up..!! I'd encourage the mother of the young man that was rushed to the hospital should file a lawsuit.
GGagnon July 11, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Of course the Mayor is looking to bring shame on the men and woman who protect and serve. He is attempting to set up the public outcry he needs to downsize his own force. If it was his car that that had been stolen, or a campaign contributor, he would have had his entire force out chasing the thiefs responsible and been requesting backup from the surrounding police forces. St. Petersburg should seriously consider voting a Mayor that supports our heroes instead of critisizing the job they do.
mtober July 12, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I'm appalled by Mayor Foster's rush to judgement to point fingers. Regardless of one's position on the chase, there is a process that occurs where an investigation is done, facts are gathered and analyzed and hopefully an objective conclusion is reached. Rob Vincent and the GPD deserve the benefit of that process prior to stones being cast especially by the MAYOR of the neighboring municipality. I wonder how Mayor Foster would react if the tables were turned and the incident occured in Gulfport with the St.Pete Police on the chase? In this country everyone is innocent until proven guily. Presumably that notion pertains to our law enforcement officals as equally as it does to the person / criminal that caused the chase!
Jeri Reed July 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM
And, yet, on October 29, 2011, there was an accident at the corner of 11th Avenue S and 51st Street. If memory serves me right, as I have pics of it that I sent to Cherlene on that date, it was St. Pete chasing into Gulfport. Please explain the difference Mayor Foster.
mtober July 13, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Jeri - Thanks forthe above. i saw your post on FB and totally agree with you. . Please consider posting your thoughts on Mayor Fosters page. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mayor-Bill-Foster/100503250056537 I see St. Pete cops speeding west thru Gulfport quite frequently and they never have their lights on. I have to wonder if they are lost or going in the wrong direction and secondly do they think they are exempt from the speed limits?
mtober July 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM
GGagnon - please consider posting your thoughts on Mayor Foster FB page. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mayor-Bill-Foster/100503250056537
Jeri Reed July 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Thanks Margarete - done with some more info
GGagnon July 13, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Thanks Margarete, I will do that now.
CJ July 15, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I am new around here. I technically don't live in ''Gulfport''...I live in what I have learned is actually ''Southside'', ''Shady Side'' or something like that. I am still learning the ropes around here. As a newcomer, I feel I may have a viewpoint on this that both the Southside (or whatever it's called) ''and'' the Gulfport people need to address. I realize that Gulfport is a somewhat ''nicer'' part of town. I will you this...my observation is that's mostly true...however, there is a ''fringe area'' of the two places that there is ''zero'' difference between the two. The ''fringe area'' I refer to is overlooked on how important it is , especially to Gulfport. It's like we don't exist. It's almost like we need ''our own'' Patch! The Burg-Port Patch?? This fringe area is a bit more ''diverse'' than most of Gulfport..but really...not actually by much. It's funny how when we were looking and finally bought our home..we actually thought we were in Gulfport, but we are not. It is also funny that the reason we picked where we moved is because virtally ''all'' of Gulfport is in an EVAC 1-5 zone. You all may laugh, but being from Kansas..it was important to me that I not buy a home in an EVAC zone. My poorly made point here is that I feel many of Gulfports ''problems' stem largely from this Fringe area. Why doesn't this area put more focus on it rather than acting like they are so different from each other. I ''maybe'' wish we had bought in Gulfport despite the EVAC zones.
CJ July 15, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I say ''maybe'' only because I almost hate to tell people where I live. The truth is, there are many pockets in the Southside, Shadyside, etc (the ''fringe area I tried to describe) area that are ''easily'' just as nice of a place to live as some of Gulfport. This goes for some of Pasadena also. At some point, obviously it is a stretch to include St Petersburg in topics about Gulfport. I would loosely define ''the fringe area'' I am referring to as the area: 1-from South of The Pinellas Trail to 22nd Ave S, and from, 2- West of about 40th Street S to 49th Street S. As a new person around here, I view this area to be crucial that both Gulfport and St Petersburg work hard to keep it ''from slipping'' any further towards more blight. I live in this area and it seems as if it is holding steady, but it also seems like there is a lack of ''red flags'' about it. I love my new friends and neighbors I have made, but many of the old timers from here are fearful things are fast getting out of control in this key area. Most of the crime that originates in St Petersburg that directly effects Gulfport, seems to have roots in this fringe area. I guees it's out of the question to allow both St Pete and Gulfport police to share patroling some of the fringe areas, instead of getting mad at each other when they cross jurisdictions.
mtober July 15, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I find it interesting that that Gulfport business organizations such as the Merchant's Association, Local Shops 1, and the Chamber of Commerce or any of it's members for that matter have yet to come out with a statement saying they support the notion of the GPD being innocent until proven guilty. Where are the words of support from the Save Our Dispatch people? the Charter the Police petition people? all of Dan Liedtke's supporters who supported his notion for our police to travel into st.Pete on 22nd? The political blog http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Gulfport-Watchdogs/171592729587071 put a post on several Facebook pages asking that people like the post if they support the GPD. Not one "like" yet they have time to vote for best shop, best shopper, best local this and best local that yet they can't vote or click to support their own Police Department. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
mtober July 15, 2012 at 05:36 PM
To be fair, Councilmember Dan Liedtke did advise Councilmember Wengay Newton of his displeasure with the remarks he made.
Juju Stevens July 15, 2012 at 05:59 PM
All of 15th Ave. S, not just from 49th to 34th. I repeatedly call the bus company, reporting them for driving way over the speed limit and it's not unusual to fear for my life when I'm just getting the mail.
Nancy Kelley July 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM
CJ there are many of us on "the wrong" side of 49th in the fringe area who agree with you. We have tried to get both cities to do something about the crime in this area. When I asked an officer from the Sherrifs Dept why they don't do something about the Drug house on 47th St S , I was told "they are like cockroaches, disturb them and they might move into Gulfport". This seems to be the Attitude we exist with. Extremely frustrating . You are correct the blight will and is moving closer to the center of Gulfport, perhaps then action will be initiated or maybe not.
CJ July 16, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Nancy, Thank you so much for your reply. It is very comforting to know that I am not coming from left field on this. Like I said, we are new here. it is very much different hee than where I moved from in Kansas, but I knew it before we got here. Our little tiney forclosure is now ourt home until we die. We love it here, but share the pain the long timers feel. It is our goal to be the sort of ''newbie'' that others ae glad to see move in. so far, we are doing that and have already made friends with many nieghbors. A much more diverse group of friends for us, but we are adjusting real fine. It's good for us, and we are enjoying our more down-to-earth, out-of-the-rat-race life here. That said, sometimes it takes someone outside the norm to make observations other may be taking for granted. I feel strongly that the future of Gulfport rides on what happens south of The Pinellas Trail between I-275 and 49th Street. It's easy to see that east of I-275 is pretty ''lost''. Three nights ago, something terrible happened about 100 feet of so from my house. A person on the street in the middle of the night was shot 4-5 times and ran from house to house for help and callapsed on a doorstep of a neighbor. The police, about 10 squad cars, were around the 3 house area from 3am untill about 10 am ''investigating''. Not a single News truck was to be seen. Nothing on the TV news. Nothing in the paper. The man died. The police seemed scared to fight crime here. Hire some with some gonads.
CJ July 16, 2012 at 06:38 PM
It's hard to believe the St Petersburg police, the Gulfport police, and the Pasedena police don't try and work ''together'' on this fringe area along the edges of Gulfport and Pasedena. They need to ''attack'' it and draw a line that moves the blight ''back'' a few blocks. If they are going to let the area east of I-275 be the heavy crime area..then ''do it''. so far..it looks as if they are willing to let Gulfport eventually gets consumed by it. I realize it really is not that simple though. ihave looked at tsome of the weekly ''crime maps'' that are put out. The ones that mark places on a mpa to show what crime has been commeted where. Frankly, even the areas firmly within Gulfport are hard to distinguish from the area between 49th and 34th. Yet...it seems as if Gulfport residents feel they ''are a much nicer place to live''. That is fast becoming a myth. Considering what a ''vacation meca'' many areas here are nationally considered...you'd think there would be more cooperation between the police jurisdictions. This attitude of letting a drug house here and there openly do businesss needs to be met with ''zero tolerance''. How hard is it to do that? Come on cops...let's see you bust some people and start arresting people by the bus loads.
CJ July 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I mentioned where they need to fire some cops and get a lot more hired with some gonads. To be fair to the cops by what ijust said..it does not help the cause when news stories comeout criticizing the cops when some chases go wrong. Now it seem slike most opinions of people on this is that the cops shouldnot do these chases. Huh???? Are these people serious? Let the criminals escape? No freaking way. Period. Of course they should do these chases. The crooks need to know they are not going top be able to ''run for it''. Im sorry..but I feel if it means a few crashes here and there are goiong to happen and even kill inoocent citizens...then it simply is a harsh reality. You can't have it both ways people. There are some ''smarter'' things the cops could do, such as set up road blocks ''in advance'', with tire spikes in the yards, etc, if they suspect a possbilbe car chase, etc. Instead, the police bust these criminals as they make runs for it along the bus routes...the roads without speed bumps.
GGagnon July 16, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Hi CJ, It must be scary to live in a neighborhood where someone can be murdered just outside your door and barely a leaf is turned in response. I am fairly new to this area, still less than 10 years, so I am not an expert on this, but can provide you with my reasoning behind this. In the "bad" neighborhoods there is a feeling of Us vs Them when talking about law enforcement. Not everyone over there is a criminal, but when action is taken against the criminals, they tend to band together in defense. Even when law enforcement correctly identifies and aprehends criminals, there is such distrust of law enforcement that people will start complaining. And if anything goes wrong, and an innocent person gets caught in the crosshairs, there most certainly will be a riot. It becomes a precarious situation where law enforcement has their hands tied dealing with the bad elements for fears of the civil repercussions. Once again, this is my view of the situation. GGagnon
GGagnon July 16, 2012 at 07:06 PM
My opinion on this matter is that if the cops are having trouble chasing and apprehending criminals, then they need bigger guns and faster cars.
CJ July 16, 2012 at 07:13 PM
The poor business owners in this area and the way the cops leave them hanging out to dry. I can think of ''many'' local stores I would shop at if it was not risky just being in the parking lots. Another example. We have seen ''many'' very good write ups on how good the food is at Mid Peninsula Seafood, on 49th. I could list endless other stores, but the point is...when you read the ''reviews'' of many businesses for this area...most of them have comments added such as ''be sure to lock you doors'' or''don't come at night'' or ''stay away Friday and Saturdays''. Nice. I know many smart alecks out there probably want to reply back to me and say something cute, such as ''welcome to Florida''. It's not funny, folks. What a shame so many people here fail to grasp and focus on what a paradise it is here. The level of expectation needs to rise of what we expect and demand in police protection. We pay thier salaries. They work for us. We can help them by not jumping down thier throat when a chase goes bad. No wonder crime is out of control here and the cops seems to consider the area as ''the new ghetto''. It's no longer just up around Campbell Park anymore. The Hood has it's sights set on Gulfport.
CJ July 16, 2012 at 07:13 PM
When this trouble get thick over in St Pete's Beach, etc...the whole area will be erased form travel books and people warned to stay away. Then they might as well paint everything red and call it hell. If they don't get a grip real fast on the local crime, then they are making thier own bed on this. At some point it can reach a point of no return. Time to make an ''The End Is Near'' sign? Support strong police presense, don't push it away.
Juju Stevens July 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I'm not quite that paranoid about some of the issues this crime causes (but again 20 years in New Orleans makes one a little jaded in many ways). That said, until both police departments work together to clean up the crime on 49th and Gulfport Blvd, it's going to be an issue. GPD is awesome; I see them making their presence known in those blocks in all 4 directions, at all hours of the day and night. I can't say as I've ever seen St. Pete police in that area.
CJ July 16, 2012 at 07:36 PM
When you said you had only lived here 10 years and was also new here..at first I thought you were mocking me..lol. However I realize you are sincere. the funny thing is that techically I am not sure my neighborhood is even ''bad''. We ''are'' new...by anyones defintion. One thing I have noticed weired about Florida in general is that you can drive along virtually any road here as pass from good neighborhood, to bad neighborhood, to a good one...over and over. It still seems to be back to the police busting crime as they see it instead of allowing drug houses to carry on so openly. I agree with your idea of bigger guns and faster crimes. The cops seem to have thier hands full here, but whne you can persnally see a house operate openly week after week, then it is hard to validate any excuse for the cops allowing that. They may be busy, but not ''that'' busy. I dunno..maybe the jail is simply not big enough. Seriously..that could be the problem. I live right along a bus route, so like most of those, it's not too bad along them...but one block away is a different story. The same is true for almost everwhere you go here. Besides that shooting, in the 3 moths we have been here, we have had a head on collision right of front of our home and one of the cars alomst wiped my house out. We have had some expensive things stolen, I've tighted up the ship, things are better now..but it has been a wild strart. It is amazing how fast cars, even cop cars, race down the bus routes. 75plus mph.
Juan Happicampa July 19, 2012 at 08:36 PM
On July 3 about 10pm I heard the punks at the Quik Stop on 15th ave and 49th setting off their fireworks in the parking lot. The punks could either be patrons or employees, same old same. I go outside to observe them shooting the rockets across 49th into Gulfport and my direction. In the past they have shot them so far that they start my grass on fire. That night they decided to attach an explosive device to a box on the light pole in the parking lot, well it blew up like a bomb, disbursing shrapnel into 49th street. I call the SPD non-emergency number to inform them, and the dispatch cruisers. Two officer walk over to the box and examine it but fail to see the metal shrapnel in the street, so I hit redial, tell the dispatcher about the metal that the bike just hit in the street, and she tells me that the officers on the scene can not find the damaged box. I'm standing on the sidewalk as the officers walk from the box they were examining into the street and pick up the foot long metal piece, but dispatcher says, that the officers could not located the damaged lightpole box as I'm watching them opening up the twisted cover. Of course by that time the punks had gotten into their cars, boom-boxes blasting away and took off. Crime of hit-n-run, smash-n-grab are mostly unsolvable. We need surveillance cameras around here and we need then now, if either of these City's want to solve the majority of problems that have turned 49th street into a combat zone.

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