A Florida man, whose name is similar to that of a retired basketball star, is accused of stealing a disabled veteran’s wheelchair to get away from police after he crashed his car during a chase. Largo police say Shaquille O’Neal Clemons, age 21, was attempting to to flee from officers. Robert Druce, a veteran, witnessed the crash. He attempted to help Clemons, not knowing that was who police were looking for. Druce offered Clemons his wheelchair.
“Saw the big wreck and then saw a guy helping a guy out of the car. His leg was broken or something. He fell down in the street, and I let him sit on my chair so he could drive up to the front by the store, so he could sit down on the sidewalk and not be laying in the street,” Druce said. “All of a sudden, I’m chasing my chair down the street.”
Instead, Clemons tried to roll away to escape. “I couldn’t catch him,” he said.
Officers say Clemons was driving a White Mercedes 250.
They tried to pull him over, but police say Clemons took off eastbound and then sideswiped a white car and a school bus. There were no kids on the bus.
Detectives say Clemons then drove southbound, where he crashed into two more vehicles at an intersection. “It was pretty crazy. I didn’t even hear it really, until I was looking outside the window and seen everything,” Nina Peralta said.
“I just remember seeing trucks everywhere and cars and police everywhere,” she said.
Police say Clemons got into the wheelchair and then headed east, trying to get away from officers.
Druce, who suffered a stroke a year ago, says he tried to go after Clemons, but was too weak.
A Pinellas Park police officer was in the area and was able to stop Clemons a few blocks away from the crash scene.
Druce was able to get his chair back. “No good deed goes unpunished,” he said.
One person involved in the crash was critically injured.
Clemons, from Largo, was arrested on charges of driving with a suspended or revoked licence, reckless driving with property damage and injury, and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and injury.
He has previously been arrested for fleeing and eluding, possession of hydromorphone hydrochloride, possession of marijuana, fleeing and eluding, and violation of probation for aggravated battery.