Man Sentenced to 9 Years For Police Chase

The driver was sentenced Tuesday for crashing into a PSTA bus while fleeing from police with his then 2-year-old son in a stolen car.

A St. Petersburg man received a nine-year prison sentenced Tuesday for leading Gulfport Police on a stolen car chase with his 2-year-old son in the backseat.

Derrick Deon Mims, 22, pleaded guilty to several charges, including fleeing and eluding, grand theft of a motor vehicle, DUI with property damage, and child abuse, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Circuit Judge Keith Meyer sentenced Mims to nine years in prison and revoked his driver's license for life on Tuesday, the Times reports.

On July 9, 2012, Mims lead Gulfport Police on a 14-minute police chase, reaching speeds up to 90 mph on Interstate 275 before exiting into a residential neighborhood in St. Petersburg and crashing into a PSTA bus, Gulfport Police Chief Rob Vincent told Patch is a previous story.

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Officer Jesse Kellington spotted Mims in a stolen rental vehicle just before 6 p.m. that night near Newton Ave and 51st Street South. When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver fled and led the officer on a high-speed chase on I-275.

The driver exited at the 28th Street South exit and slowed down to 40 mph but did not stop, according to Vincent.

Additional officers and a helicopter were en route to help when the driver crashed into a PSTA bus at 11th Avenue South and 25th Street South in St. Petersburg. The bus then crashed into an apartment building in Jordan Park, according to Vincent.

Officials found out after the chase that Mims had his then 2-year-old son in the car.

The pursuit and crash prompted harsh comments from St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster that evening. According to a previous article in the Tampa Bay Times, Foster said his officers would not have pursued under the same circumstances.

Following the pursuit, Vincent completed a formal review that resulted in four minor violations.

Vincent says four minor violations were noted, however, he states that the "overall performance of the officers in this pursuit was commendable. They exhibited excellent teamwork, good communications skills, and they operated their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner as they made every effort to apprehend a dangerous felon. At the conclusion of the pursuit, they acted appropriately to secure suspects and get medical attention for the injured while coordinating with other agencies for crowd control."

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