In an early morning vehicle crash and fire on Sunday, September 22, the bus stop structure on 49th Street S. at Trolley Market Square park sustained “heavy damage” according to Gulfport fire and police officials.
The 911 dispatch call for a vehicle crash came into the Gulfport Fire Department at 3:10 a.m., said Fire Chief James V. Marenkovic.
Enroute, firefighters received reports that the vehicle was on fire, he said.
When Engine 17 got to the bus stop, firefighters “saw the vehicle was fully involved in flames,” said Marenkovic.
By 3:18 a.m., water was on the fire “and it was put out with no issues,” he said.
Bystanders pulled the driver, Jerry Roberson of St. Petersburg, from the vehicle before the fire department arrived, said Gulfport Police Detective Sargent Thomas Woodman, the public information officer. Police were dispatched to the scene at 3:20 a.m.
According to the police report, Robertson received minor lacerations to his triceps area as a result of the crash, was treated at the scene then transported by a Sunstar Paramedic ambulance to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg hospital for additional medical care.
The St. Petersburg Fire Department also responded to the scene with Engine 6, said Marenkovic.
A witness reported that Roberson’s 2016 silver 4-door Dodge passenger vehicle was traveling westbound on 18th Avenue South while being chased by another vehicle, said Woodman. Roberson then crossed the street and struck the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus stop barrier of the park located at the corner of 49th Street South and Tangerine Avenue South. The second vehicle fled the scene.
The PSTA bus stop received “heavy damage” from both the crash and fire, said Marenkovic. The estimate of damage to the bus stop is $20,000, said Woodman.
Gulfport police issued a non-criminal careless driving citation to Roberson, which carries a $166 fine, said Woodman. St. Petersburg Police are investigating the vehicle chase that happened in their city.