Florida man crashes through St. Pete airport gate, boards Coast Guard plane

U.S. and World

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa man is in custody after crashing his way through a gate at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport Saturday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies were told of a suspicious vehicle driving on the airport’s runway at around 4:48 a.m. near some commercial airplanes. Deputies tried to stop the driver, a 36-year-old man, but the sheriff’s office said the suspect then headed to the U.S. Coast Guard station, crashing through the security gate.

From there, the man stopped the vehicle in a large hangar and ran to a parked C-130, a type of military transport plane. He managed to get into the cockpit, where deputies arrested him.

The sheriff’s office said no one was harmed, and none of the aircraft were damaged.

Further investigation found that the suspect’s vehicle was reported stolen Friday evening.

The man now faces charges of fleeing and eluding, trespassing, grand theft auto, habitual
traffic offender, burglary, and two counts of criminal mischief. He also faces potential federal charges as well.

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