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St. Pete bar manager charged after patron left in coma

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Published:   |   Updated: July 2, 2013 at 04:16 PM

The manager of a downtown St. Petersburg club was arrested Monday, a day after police say he dragged an unruly patron outside in a choke hold and then dropped the unconscious man, who fell face-first onto the sidewalk.

Two days later, 39-year-old Jeremy Fisher, of Miami, remains in a coma, according to police.

Blake Ambrester, 24, of 5761 Third Ave N. in St. Petersburg, faces a charge of aggravated battery and was released from jail this morning after posting $10,000 bail. He declined to talk about what happened with Fisher.

After noticing Fisher was hurt, Ambrester flagged down a St. Petersburg police officer about 2:35 a.m. The officer found Fisher, 39, lying unconscious outside the Suite Six Club, at 265 Central Ave. Fisher sustained a verterbra injury to his neck that will require surgery, along with several facial fractures, and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he is in a coma, according to police.

The trouble at the Suite Six Club started with Fisher making a female bartender feel uncomfortable and threatened by pointing his finger in her face, according to police. She asked Ambrester to intervene; he asked Fisher to leave, but Fisher refused and became "physically resistant," police said.

Ambrester, who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds, put Fisher in a choke hold and took him outside, police said. The altercation, including when Ambrester dropped Fisher onto the sidewalk, was captured by the club's surveillance cameras, according to police.

Police did not arrest Ambrester early Sunday morning, but detectives decided to the following day because of the severity of Fisher's injuries.

Fisher's condition is serious, but nonlife-threatening, according to police.

His blood-alcohol level at the time he was admitted was 0.23 percent - nearly three times the level at which a Florida driver is presumed intoxicated, said St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Jennifer Dawkins.

Police have been called to the Suite Six Club 34 times this year on complaints ranging from simple battery to brawling to disorderly conduct, Dawkins said.

Last year, Ambrester was cited after he allowed someone to remain in the club after hours, and he paid a $213 fine. The city doesn't allow anyone to remain in a club between 3 and 8 a.m.

In 2010, Ambrester was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he was convicted of felony battery resulting in body harm, in a 2008 Leon County case, according to the Florida Department of Corrections website. He was released from prison two years ago.

sthompson@tampatrib.com

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