PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Authorities in Pinellas County said a man is facing 31 charges after a carjacking and chase that spanned several cities before ending in the intercostal waterway.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Kenneth Lunford, 27, faces charges that include carjacking, driving under the influence, and robbery.
Authorities said shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, Lunford got into a fight with another man at the Dunedin Cove Motel after a drug transaction. Deputies said after the fight, Lunford stole the man's vehicle and left the scene.
The sheriff's office issued a BOLO, or be on the lookout, for Lunford and the stolen vehicle to the surrounding agencies. Deputies said Lunford drove recklessly through Clearwater, Largo, Belleair Bluffs, Belleair Beach, and Indian Rocks Beach.
Several officers with the Clearwater Police Department tried to stop Lunford but were unsuccessful. While driving on Gulf Boulevard in Indian Rocks Beach, deputies said Lunford tried to carjack another person at a stoplight but was thwarted in his attempt.
Deputies said Lunford continued to drive and hit two other vehicles as he approached Gulf Boulevard and 4th Avenue in Indian Rocks Beach. Lunford got out of the first stolen vehicle and carjacked another vehicle and continued driving southbound on Gulf Boulevard, authorities said.
The sheriff's office said Lunford continued to drive recklessly when he crashed into another vehicle in the parking lot of 11925 Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores. Lunford drove around to the back of that building where he crashed into a fence and came to a rest partially off of a seawall. He then got out, went through mangroves, and waded into the intercoastal waterway.
Marine Deputies with the sheriff's office took Lunford into custody at 4:55 p.m. He was taken to the Pinellas County jail. No one was significantly injured during the incident, the sheriff's office said.
Lunford faces a lengthy list of charges from the sheriff's office and Clearwater Police including:
- Carjacking (without weapon); two counts
- Carjacking (without weapon, attempted); one count
- Driving under the influence with property damage; nine counts
- Driving under the influence with property damage (CPD charges); two counts
- Leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage (CPD - one charge); 12 counts total
- Robbery by sudden snatching
- Resisting an officer with violence (CPD charge); one counts
- Fleeing and eluding (CPD - two charges); three counts total