County to improve safety on Pinellas Trail - WFLA News Channel 8

County to improve safety on Pinellas Trail

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The Pinellas Trail begins in St. Pete and ends in Tarpon Springs. The Pinellas Trail begins in St. Pete and ends in Tarpon Springs.
The Pinellas Trail begins in St. Pete and ends in Tarpon Springs. The Pinellas Trail begins in St. Pete and ends in Tarpon Springs.
The Pinellas Trail begins in St. Pete and ends in Tarpon Springs. The Pinellas Trail begins in St. Pete and ends in Tarpon Springs.
LARGO, FL (WFLA) -

The Pinellas Trail is a great place to walk or ride a bike, but it's not without problems, causing law enforcement officials to ramp up security along the path that stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs.

Over the past few years, News Channel 8 has reported on a number of crimes along the trail, some happening in just the past few weeks.

On Tuesday morning, 60-year-old Jonie Leeann Hensley recklessly drove her white pickup truck on the trail, allegedly forcing several bicyclists off the trail and running over several barricades.

Police say it appeared Hensley was under the influence of narcotics. No injuries were reported and no charges have been filed in that case.

Prior to that, St. Petersburg Police say 18-year-old Germaine Davansha Small robbed a man and woman while they were riding their bikes on the trail the afternoon of February 1st.

Officials say Small struck the woman in the face with the butt of a handgun, knocking out several teeth. He and his accomplice then robbed the pair and took off.

Local law enforcement officials met with auxiliary rangers deciding to increase patrols along the entire trail and have undercover units to help keep the peace.

"These measures will provide additional police presence and faster emergency response,” said St. Petersburg police officer Ron Wolfson.

Police will also use a specialized vehicle with cameras to patrol the trail over the weekend. And if that's not enough, rangers will act as neighborhood watch, specially trained to report suspicious activity.

"All in all, the trail is an extremely safe place to go,” said Wolfson.

County officials also plan some improvements to make the trail safer. For example, there's a stretch of fencing near 46th Street that is broken, so officials are going to put a fix to that.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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