Cross-dressing driver crashes into high rise

Tampa, Florida -- A cross-dressing driver crashed into a Hyde Park high-rise overnight, as police say he was speeding away from a nonexistent chase.

The Mustang blasted through the wall of the Tampa Baptist Manor apartments like a cannonball. On its way, it took down a newspaper box, a palm tree, a concrete wall, and a generator.

A DUI specialist with the Tampa Police Department spotted the car driving erratically on Kennedy Boulevard early Friday morning, TPD Lt. Ronald McMullen said.

The officer tried a traffic stop. According to McMullen the car then sped off, and the officer did not chase it.

The car kept speeding right by the University of Tampa, where Kennedy Boulevard bends to the left.

But the bright red Ford kept on rocketing straight down Grand Central Avenue, a hundred-year-old brick side street that's home to Tampa hotspots Oxford Exchange and Mise en Place.

The car barreled right into the 13-story Tampa Baptist Manor senior apartments, finally stopping about 30 feet from the curb.

At one point crews were worried that they would have to evacuate all of the seniors due to smoke being pulled into the air conditioning system, but the seniors were able to stay in their apartments.

Police say they caught the driver, Rico Antwan Jones -- who also goes by Diamond -- about a block away. They say he was dressed as a woman at the time.

In his multiple past sheriff's booking photos, Jones sometimes appears as a man, and other times has female hairstyles and make-up.

He now faces several charges, including a felony for fleeing from law enforcement. McMullen said Jones showed signs of impairment.

Since there was a crash, the law allows police to draw Jones' blood to check his blood alcohol level and look for any other substances that may be in his system.




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