Crime

Suspected Lakewood Ranch bank robber crashes after chase on Interstate 75, cops say

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A 58-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after deputies say he robbed a Lakewood Ranch bank and took them on a chase on Interstate 75 that ended in a wreck.

Randy Parent was taken into custody following the crash, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Reports of a bank robbery at the Wells Fargo in the Lakewood Ranch Plaza on the southeast corner of the intersection of State Road 64 and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard came in at 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday.

Employees said that a white male entered the bank, demanded cash and then fled.

A deputy then spotted Parent’s vehicle driving west on State Road 64 East near Heritage Green Way and attempted to pull him over. Parent did not stop and proceeded onto I-75 North.

A car chase ensued, and Parent eventually crossed a median and crashed into the driver’s side door of a vehicle traveling on I-75 South. The crash occurred around mile marker 228.

When Parent refused to get out of his vehicle, a K-9 unit was sent in to retrieve him. The K-9 “engaged” Parent on his left thigh, according to the sheriff’s office.

Parent was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of the other vehicle sustained only minor injuries.

Parent has spent decades in Florida prisons.

He was most recently released from prison on July 3, 2014 after serving about 10 years of a 12-year sentence for a fatal hit-and-run crash. Saturday will mark 15 years since Parent hit 22-year-old Christina Torres, who was crossing the street in the 5500 block of 26th Street West.

A driver who was behind Parent at the time was able to give Florida Highway Patrol troopers a description of Parent’s vehicle. He attempted to dump the vehicle, removing its tag and told neighbors that it was “not street legal.” Neighbors gave FHP investigators Parent’s girlfriend’s phone number but each time they agreed to meet him, he failed to show up.

Less than three days after the fatal crash, FHP got a tip of where Parent was staying and investigators accompanied by then Sgt. Rick Wells, current Manatee County sheriff, found and arrested him. Parent had been dying his hair in an attempt to disguise his appearance.

Parent was ultimately convicted of leaving the scene of a crash causing death and obstruction of a crime scene.

At the time of the fatal crash, he was still on probation after having been released from prison less than six months prior after serving most of a 25-year sentence for convictions out of Pinellas County for two counts of armed robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary, kidnapping, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of more than $300 and less than $20,000 and aggravated battery.

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