Baby hurt as suspected package thieves flee

-  It was a wild and disturbing scene Wednesday afternoon.

Suspects speeding away from police smashed into another car. Once police caught up to them, St. Pete officers say a man used an infant injured in the crash as a shield.

Derick Corbett, 23, and Casandra Cole, 21, were more concerned with stealing packages than they were with their own precious cargo -- a baby, just 6 months old.

"Not only are you stealing but you are also taking your baby with you," said Yolanda Fernandez, St. Pete police spokesperson.

Wednesday afternoon, St. Pete police got a report of a man taking boxes from a home on 9th Avenue NE.

When an officer rolled up and asked for identification, they say Corbett, the driver, sped off.

"They take off, go several blocks at a high rate of speed and go through the intersection at 5th Avenue N and 1st Street N and there's a woman taking a left there," Fernandez said. "They crashed into each other. The car with the couple and the baby goes airborne."

But, the pursuit wasn't over. Police say the suspects took off running, with Corbett holding baby Javion not like a child, but like a football.

"When our officers approached them, he held the baby up like a shield," Fernandez said. "Like a human shield. It turns out, the baby was injured, and had a pretty severe gash on his forehead."

Police say no one was wearing a seatbelt. The shattered windshield is proof of that. There was a car seat inside, but it wasn't even strapped in.

"Incredible. Very incredible to think the car would blow apart like that," said a witness who didn't want to be identified. "I'm just glad the lady in the other car was OK but I know the baby was hurt. The baby was bleeding."

Corbett was taken to the hospital as a trauma alert. Cole and baby Javion were also treated for injuries that are not life-threatening.

Officers arrested the two adults -- All over a few boxes.

"They got caught and that's the way it works," the witness said. "St. Pete is on top of things."

Corbett and Cole are charged with child endangerment and burglary. Corbett faces many more charges as the driver, including not having a valid driver's license.

Police say they found packages from several different addresses in the wrecked car.

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