A candidate for sheriff has charged a "cover up" in the case of a prominent Largo businessman who is being investigated in the case of his possible involvement in a hit and run accident.
Bubba Clem, the Democratic candidate for sheriff in November's election, said in a statement issued through a spokesman that "No matter what the current administration tries to say what happened this is a cover up. If this would have been you or I we would have been charged and arrested."
Clem's opponent in the sheriff's race is Jim Coats, presently the chief deputy and Sheriff Everett Rice's hand-picked successor.
The object of Clem's charges is Robert D. McIntyre, chief executive officer of Ditek. McIntyre is also Coats's campaign manager.
McIntyre is reportedly is under investigation in an accident that happened at Island Estates August 16.
A report from the Clearwater Police Department dated August 16, 2004, lists Robert D. McIntyre of Belleair as the driver of a 2002 Jeep SUV that was involved in an accident at the intersection of Island Way and Windward Passage.
The report gives 7:25 p.m. as the time of the accident. The report notes that there was a violation of Florida Statute 316, which is the general motor vehicles provision, and the wording "careless/hit + run" is written in.
According to Clem's spokesman, Brent Hatley, who is Clem's campaign manager, a cab driver witnessed the accident and followed the vehicle that left the scene.
That vehicle and its driver, McIntyre, were apprehended in Indian Rocks Beach after traveling down Gulf Boulevard from Clearwater Beach and the site of the accident.
McIntyre's vehicle, according to the police report, collided with a Chrysler minivan being driven by John A. Carey, an Island Estates resident.
Although taken into custody, McIntyre was never booked, according to published reports.
Clem, who is a radio broadcasting personality, said in his statement, "This is just another example of the 'good ole boy' network at its finest having two sets of rules one for their friends versus the actual law that the rest of us must follow."
The State Attorney's office is investigating.
A story published in the Clearwater Gazette & Beach Views September 30 mistakenly identified Robert D. McIntyre as the campaign manager for Chief Deputy Jim Coats who is the Republican candidate for Sheriff in the November 2 election. The Clearwater Gazette & Beach Views regrets the error.
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