Coquina carjacker arrested after crashing Corvette on LBK

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A 1998 Chevrolet Corvette is disabled by the road south of Longboat Pass Bridge after a June 6 carjacking ended in a crash. Islander Photo: Courtesy Longboat Key Police Department
Rick Rowland, 43

A man identified as a Manatee County transient was arrested June 6 after carjacking and crashing a Corvette.

Just before noon, police say Rick Rowland, 43, accosted a disabled a 56-year-old Parrish man, took his car keys and stole his 1998 Chevrolet Corvette from a Coquina Beach parking lot in Bradenton Beach.

Rowland then recklessly drove the Corvette south on Gulf Drive over the Longboat Pass Bridge, crashed into a 2014 Toyota RAV4 as he attempted to pass it and caused a chain reaction of swerving cars, according to a Longboat Key police report.

The Corvette was rendered inoperable just south of the bridge.

Bradenton Beach Police Officer Steven Masi read Rowland his Miranda rights after he was cleared from the hospital.

“During our ride and stay at the police department, Rowland kept saying how sorry he was for what he had done. That love made him steal the vehicle and this is not him. He was worried about the child that was in one of the cars he hit during his fleeing from the scene,” Masi’s report said.

BBPD arrested Rowland for carjacking and abuse of a disabled adult and he was transported to the Manatee County jail.

Three passengers in the Toyota also were transported to the Sarasota hospital for what Longboat Key police reported as non life-threatening injuries.

Longboat Key police received the emergency call at 11:46 a.m. and responded to investigate.

Rowland allegedly told a Longboat Key officer, “I stole the car.”

The Corvette owner was placing items in his trunk when a man later identified as Roland hit him on the back of his head, punched him a couple of times and demanded his keys, BBPD Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz said, although he did not request medical attention.

The crash happened “very fast and the impact was hard,” injuring some of his family, the driver told the LBKPD.

After the crash, the Toyota driver ran to the Corvette and restrained Rowland, who was attempting to leave on foot, and held Rowland until police arrived, according to police reports.

As far as a motive, Diaz said he’s investigating.

“We have witnesses. I believe it will stick,” he added.

Rowland also is a suspect in a recent Bradenton Beach theft in which charges are pending, Diaz said.

LBKPD issued Rowland citations for reckless driving, improper passing and driving with a suspended driver’s license.

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