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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014
Military News

Family was out of contact with man who drove past MacDill security

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Published:   |   Updated: March 24, 2014 at 08:01 PM

The last time Pat Coggins heard from her grandson Steven Coggins II was about two weeks ago, when he called to tell her he was in Tampa, with no food or water.

“He said, ‘I am on the side of the road. I haven’t eaten in three days. I am dehydrated,’” said Coggins, who lives in Tallahassee.

Friday night, just hours before AirFest 2014, Steven Coggins II, 29, drove through the Bayshore gate at MacDill Air Force Base and past security, police say, prompting a lockdown. He was apprehended by Tampa police outside the base after his car hit an embankment and he was later hospitalized, police say.

He won’t be charged until he is medically released, police said Friday night. As of Monday evening, he had still not been charged, jail records show.

“I know he is in trouble,” said Coggins. “His dad is worried sick.”

Two years ago, Steven Coggins II was released from prison, where he served almost three years for lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between 12 and 15, grand theft auto and failing to register as a sexual offender, according to state Department of Correction records.

Coggins said she did not know why her grandson, who has never been in the military, would drive onto a secure military base.

Driving past security onto a military base “is a very big issue,” said Coggins. “Yes it is, nowadays especially. I guarantee he ... did not even know where he was.”

Coggins said that the family did not know her grandson has been apprehended by police or was in the hospital until being called by a reporter.

“Oh my God, we have not heard one thing,” she said. “None of us knew if he was still in Tampa.”

After being contacted by a reporter, Coggins said the family reached out to Tampa police, who did not return calls for comment.

“They said they can’t tell us anything because he is an adult,” said Coggins. “That stinks.”

haltman@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7629

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