Man charged in cab driver's death has 4 DUI convictions
CLEARWATER - Police say they may end up adding DUI to a list of charges against a motorist who ran a red light and killed a cab driver early this morning. If they do, it would be the fifth time Brian Ferry Sr., age 47, has faced charges of driving under the influence. He has four prior convictions. Clearwater police said they were acting on a tip when they went to the Copper Mug bar looking for Ferry around 1:45 a.m. He had skipped a court date for a charge of driving without a license and there was a warrant for his arrest. Police said they found Ferry but he took off in his 1998 Dodge Ram pickup before they could arrest him. They had suspended their pursuit when the wreck happened within 2 miles north of the bar."When the suspect fled away at a high rate of speed they disengaged and did not pursue," said Clearwater Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts. Ferry ran a red light at Belcher Road and Drew Street, hitting a Yellow Cab traveling on Drew, police said. The cab driver, Joshua Donahue, 32, of Pinellas Park, was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital, where he died at 2:35 a.m., police said. Ferry is now in the Pinellas County jail under a $20,000 bond after treatment for his injuries. Donahue's friends said he and his girlfriend had just moved to Pasco. Donahue was excited about his new cab-driving job because it allowed him to spend more time with his 12- year-old daughter Elena. "He talked about her all the time," said friend Jessica Doering. "He loved her dearly and you don't know what to say to a little girl except, 'Your daddy loved you.'" Court records indicate Ferry permanently lost his Florida driver's license in 1992 after four DUI convictions. But that didn't keep him from getting behind the wheel time and again. Ferry had two traffic arrests last year and four the year before, including a case where police say he hit a parked car and fled on foot before a police K-9 found him hiding in a nearby yard. Today, police arrested Ferry on charges of vehicular homicide, fleeing and eluding resulting in a death, driving with a suspended or revoked license resulting in a death, and the original warrant for failure to appear on the suspended license charge. Investigators are waiting for results from blood tests to determine if Ferry will face alcohol-related charges, police said.
Reporter Mark Douglas can be reached at (727) 451-2333