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Tampa Bay briefs

By Times staff reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 16, 2002


Repairman accused of flashing children

Repairman accused of flashing children

ST. PETERSBURG -- Police say an air conditioning repairman driving his company van has been exposing himself to young girls walking to and from school in north St. Petersburg.

He struck three times in two weeks, prompting several schools to send letters home with students, warning parents.

Paul E. Muzychko, 21, of 5958 28th St. N, Apt. 1, was arrested Friday on two counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition, a felony; and one count of exposure of sexual organs, a misdemeanor. He was held at the Pinellas County Jail on Friday in lieu of $40,500 bail.

Police say the flasher has been targeting female students at Meadowlawn Middle School and John M. Sexton Elementary School. On Feb. 21, a man exposed himself to two girls, ages 11 and 13. On Feb. 22, he drove alongside a 10-year-old girl, offering a ride and saying he had something to show her. On March 5, a man exposed himself to a 14-year-old girl.

Police say Muzychko worked as a mechanic for Airtron, a heating and air conditioning company, and that he flashed girls while driving a company van.

Chain reaction accident on 66th Street kills one

ST. PETERSBURG -- One man died in a five-car accident Friday night on 66th Street near 22nd Avenue N, police said.

The accident happened about 8:20 p.m. First, one car hit another car in the parking lot of Eckerd Drugs, 2100 66th St. N. One of those cars then crossed 66th Street and hit a row of three parked cars in the Crossroads Shopping Center, authorities said.

One driver was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he died of his injuries, paramedics said. No one else was injured.

Repeat sex offender could face a life sentence

ST. PETERSBURG -- A registered sex offender is back in jail, this time on charges that he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl and fondled a 5-month-old girl. Police also say he collected child pornography on computer discs.

Adam Benjamin, 32, of St. Petersburg is charged with five counts of capital sexual battery. Detectives say he could face life in prison if he is convicted.

Police seized Benjamin's computer and hundreds of discs, and they plan to file more criminal charges against Benjamin.

Weaving driver dies after hitting parked truck

ST. PETERSBURG -- A motorist who was speeding and driving erratically was killed early Friday when he ran into the the back of truck parked along First Avenue S, police said.

The fatal accident happened shortly before 1 a.m. in the 5200 block of the avenue. Witnesses said the man was driving his 1997 Ford Ranger pickup about 60 to 65 mph and "very erratically," according to St. Petersburg Police Officer Mike Roberts.

The eastbound pickup drifted to the left and hit the rear of a Ford truck with a car transport trailer attached to it. No one was in the parked truck.

The pickup's driver died at the scene. His name was not released Friday, pending notification of relatives.

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