ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A police chase has ended in a collision that sent a PSTA bus crashing into a south St. Petersburg apartment building.
Officers say late Monday afternoon, Officer Kellington with the Gulfport Police Department spotted a stolen silver Toyota Venza and chased it into the Jordan Park area of South St. Petersburg.
The Venza was reported stolen around 1:30 a.m. Sunday from the residence located at 5020 1/2 3rd Avenue North. The woman who rented the car told police she drove to a friend's house and left the keys in the ignition because she only planned on staying there for 10 minutes.
Derrick Mins, 22, according to police, was driving the Venza and hit a bus around 6:00 p.m. after running a stop sign at the intersection of 11th Avenue South and 25th Street South.
Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent said Mins was going about 40 mph at the time of the crash. A speed area residents who witnessed the chase are contesting.
"I give them about 80 mph," said Terry Hillmoe, a resident who watched the chase unfold.
The bus, with six people inside, veered off the road and crashed into the front porch of one of the apartments. No one was on the porch at the time.
Mins and a passenger in the stolen vehicle were transported to the hospital. Rescuers also found a Mins' 2-year-old son in the back seat of the stolen car. The toddler was taken to All Children's Hospital and is listed in stable condition. A third person in the car ran away on foot and police are still looking for that man.
"That is very disturbing to me [that he had his son in the car]," said Chief Vincent.
Many area residents were upset with police and their decision to continue the chase into the community.
"Got Gulfport police coming through here like a bat out of hell," Hillmoe added.
Sonya Grant said there are at least two police chases through the community daily.
"They have to figure out something else to do to stop these car chases even if its a stolen car," said Grant. "What is more important, a stolen car or someone's life?"
Chief Vincent said the officer involved and a supervisor followed protocol and determined it was OK to continue on through the community.
Mins is now facing grand theft auto and fleeing and alluding charges.
The passenger police are still looking for is being described as a black male in his twenties who was last wearing a baseball cap, red shirt and jean shorts.
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