Crossing guard killed in Belcher and Gulf-to-Bay crash

Father abandons children after crash

The suspect in a crash that killed a Clearwater crossing guard Tuesday ran from the scene after handing his injured 2-year-old girl to a stranger, police said, and asking “please take care of my child.”
 
Julious Johnson left his other child, a 4-year-old girl, lying injured in the street near Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, according to the Clearwater Police Department.
 
Johnson, who has been arrested 17 times since 2005, ran from the scene because he has a suspended license, police said. He returned to the wreckage once to retrieve an unknown item from his Cadillac before running away again.
 
He faces charges including leaving the scene of an accident causing death and aggravated child neglect.
 
His girls were taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where they are in “guarded” condition but are expected to survive.
 
Crossing guard Doug Carey, 70, a former Clearwater Police Department detective, was killed when the crash occurred about 9 a.m., police said.
 
“All of Clearwater hurts today,” the city’s mayor, George Cretekos, said at a news conference. “We have lost a family member. We have lost an outstanding citizen because somebody thought that he was the most important person.”
 
“When you’re driving, you have a responsibility not just to yourself and to your passengers but to the community,” Cretekos said.
 
Johnson was headed west on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard when he sped through a red light and struck another vehicle, police said. The driver of the other vehicle, a Honda, was eastbound on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and making a north turn onto Belcher Road.
 
Carey was standing on the northwest corner of the intersection when he was struck.
 
Carey worked for the Clearwater Police Department from 1968 to 1986, police said, in positions that included detective and field trainer.
 
“We’re going to get through this,” Clearwater Police Chief Tony Holloway said, “but at the same time we have a lot of work to do.”
 

FRIENDS & FAMILY REMEMBER DOUG CAREY

As word swept through Carey's neighborhood of his death, family members began trickling into his one-story home.

As a show of respect, multiple Clearwater police officers stood post in the driveway.

"Took a great guy," said John Bosser, a neighbor.

Bosser said he just spoke with Carey Monday and knew him for about 14 years. Carey had befriended Bosser's daughter.

"My daughter and his grandson would come out and play and he'd just have a blast. Always water balloons or something. Just a real good guy," Bosser said.

Carey spent nearly two decades as a Clearwater police officer before retiring in 1987. 

In 1984, Carey was recognized by then Police Chief Sid Klein for his efforts in burglary prevention and detection. The chief noted that Carey had the most "discoverable" burglaries in his patrol division.

After retiring from police work, Carey went on to work security at a local hospital. Neighbors said when he retired from that job, he still felt that he wanted to serve the community and became a crossing guard.

Parents and children became accustomed to seeing Carey. They said he always had a smile on his face and wanted to chat.

"It is just really sad we won't see him there anymore," said mother Briana Garrett.

Carey's family requested privacy.

Their neighbor Evelyn Sutfin said she helped console Carey's wife this morning.

"She said she just didn't know what was going to happen," Sutfin said.

Suftin told ABC Action News the family's priest was at the home consoling Carey's wife, two adult children and his grandson.

The family said they intend to make a statement soon.

In addition to his police career, Carey worked as a night security guard at Morton Plant Hospital. He retired about five years ago, but nurses still remembered him when they heard the news of his death.

Former Morton Plant nurse Vicky Cyr called it crushing.
 
“He would come up all the time and check in on us and always had a good joke to say,” she said. 

 

INTERSECTION RATED SECOND HIGHEST FOR CRASH IN CLEARWATER

Statistics gathered by the City of Clearwater show that State Road 60 (Gulf to Bay Boulevard) and South Belcher Road has the second-highest count of "intersection-related crashes" between 2008 and 2012.

In 2008, there were 31 crashes. In 2009, 30 crashes were reported. The number dropped to 25 in 2010, and the intersection had its lowest recorded number of crashes in 2011 with just six. In 2012 the number of crashes jumped to 17.

The average number of crashes per year is 21.8.

The most dangerous intersection in Clearwater is U.S. 19 and Gulf to Bay Boulevard, city data shows.

There were 150 crashes at that intersection from 2008 to 2012.

A national report released Tuesday reports that Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater make up the second most dangerous metro area in the nation for pedestrians.

The report looked at 51 metro areas.

From 2003 to 2012, 874 Tampa residents were killed while walking. During that same

time span, a total of 47,000 pedestrians were killed nationwide.

The report found that the majority of those deaths likely could have been prevented with a safer street design.

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