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St. Pete police officer suspended five days after wreck

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Published:   |   Updated: May 8, 2013 at 10:35 PM

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ST. PETERSBURG -

A police officer who wrecked his squad car in March while trying to catch up to a pursuit has been suspended for five days.

Timothy Reyes, 29, was driving at 110 mph in a 40-mph zone, according to a memorandum released Wednesday by the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Reyes’ suspension was based in part on his prior disciplinary history. He had been involved in another crash Sept. 26, 2011. Any disciplinary action within an 18-month period is taken into consideration when an officer is punished for violating department procedures.

The more recent incident occurred March 24.

Reyes was attempting to catch up to a pursuit when a vehicle pulled in front of him along 54th Avenue South, forcing his squad car off the road, investigators said.

Reyes steered to miss the vehicle, hit a median strip and a curb, then overturned and struck a utility pole and tree, investigators said.

He was treated and released from a hospital.

The chain of events that led to the crash began at 12:39 a.m., when a 2002 Cadillac Deville was stolen from a gas station at First Avenue South and 34th Street, police said.

A half-hour later, another officer on patrol looking for the stolen car was intentionally rammed by a silver Kia near Eighth Avenue South and 43rd Street, police said.

This officer was not injured and little damage was done to the cruiser. A description of the Kia was sent out; it was spotted soon after and a police pursuit began.

As officers moved into position to intercept the Kia, Reyes’ cruiser was involved in the crash. After the crash, police halted the pursuit of the Kia

Reyes’ suspension was decided by Assistant Police Chief Luke Williams, who is in charge while Police Chief Chuck Harmon is on vacation. Williams noted Reyes neglected to use “due care” while driving and has to undergo remedial training.

The damage to the squad car and other property was worth $30,754, the memorandum said.

sthompson@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-6504

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