St. Pete Beach district fire chief Thomas McClave arrested for road rage against cyclist

By FloridaBicyclist
St. Pete Beach District Fire Chief Thomas McClave
St. Pete Beach District Fire Chief Thomas McClave’s booking photo.

St. Pete Beach district fire chief Thomas McClave was arrested May 23 after he nearly ran over and assaulted a cyclist during a road rage incident on Gulf Boulevard in Redington Shores, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

In a press release, deputies said McClave pulled alongside 58-year-old cyclist Gregory Hicks, yelling for him to get out of the roadway. After briefly yelling back and forth at each other, Hicks rode his bicycle onto the raised median of Gulf Boulevard. McClave followed Hicks with his pickup, intentionally driving it onto the raised median and almost striking Hicks, who had to swerve out of the way. McClave exited his vehicle, approached Hicks, and shoved him in the chest twice. McClave also knocked a cell phone out of Hick’s hands, as he was trying to record the incident.

Video of the incident provided to the Tampa Bay Times shows McClave, 55, drive his personal pickup truck onto the median and nearly hit Hicks. McClave then exits the truck and pushes Hicks in the chest. The off duty fire chief then slaps Hicks’ phone out of his hand and gets back into his truck, as the person filming says, “Dude, you’re toast.” To which McClave answers, “Thank you, no big deal.”

Tampa Bay Times Video.

McClave, who has been with the fire department since November, according to the sheriff’s office was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Motor Vehicle and Simple Battery.

In McClave’s first court appearance on May 24, Pinellas County Judge Elizabeth Zuroweste wondered why St. Pete Beach district fire chief Thomas McClave didn’t get a more serious charge.

“Quite frankly, I’m surprised that the sheriff’s office did not charge you with aggravated battery as opposed to aggravated assault when the allegations are that you actually hit the person versus just tried to hit the person and missed,” Zuroweste said in a story published by WFTS-TV.

McClave was released from jail after posting $36,000 bond and has pleaded not guilty.

The St. Pete Beach Fire Department released a statement saying that McClave has been suspended without pay while it conducts an investigation and final determination of possible disciplinary action.