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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Driver faces DUI charges after car hits Tampa retirement home

A driver slammed his car through a wall at a Tampa retirement home early Tuesday, waking up startled residents and starting a brief fire that spread smoke into the facility.

No residents of Tampa Baptist Manor, 215 W. Grand Central Ave., reported injuries.

The driver, Rico Antwan Jones, 28, of Clearwater, faces multiple charges, including driving under the influence.

While on patrol about 2:40 a.m., a DUI officer noticed the driver of a red Ford Mustang traveling the wrong way on Howard Avenue, police said. The officer activated his emergency lights to pull over the car, but the driver took off, police said.

Suspecting the driver might be impaired, the officer said he deactivated his emergency equipment because the situation did not meet department criteria for a pursuit, police said.

The officer did not follow the car, police said.

Several minutes later, a 911 call was received reporting a red Mustang hit Tampa Baptist Manor, police said. Officers arriving on scene observed Jones walking away from the crash, police said.

The car struck a generator intake and started a fire, with residents reporting smoke inside the building.

Tampa Fire Rescue responded with multiple units, including a vent truck to remove interior smoke. Firefighters extinguished the flames.

The impact left about 12-by-12-foot hole in the 13-story building’s west wall along Plant Avenue.

Jones sustained minor injuries and was transported to Tampa General Hospital for treatment, police said.

He was later booked on charges of driving under the influence, driving under the influence with property damage, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, fleeing and attempting to elude police, and driving with a canceled, suspended or revoked licence.

Jones was being held at the Hillsborough County Jail on $3,500 bail, according to jail records.

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