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    Police say victim in hit-and-run from Largo

    Police are still looking for the person who struck and killed Barbara Anne Molochnikov, 56, Monday night on Sunset Point Road.

    By CHRIS TISCH
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 7, 2002


    CLEARWATER -- Police have identified a woman killed in a hit-and-run Monday night, and officers continue to search for the car and driver that struck her.

    Police say Barbara Anne Molochnikov, 56, of Largo, was walking about 10 p.m. Monday across Sunset Point Road when a speeding car ran a red light at Hercules Avenue and struck her.

    Molochnikov, who was thrown about 40 feet, died at the scene. The driver of the car -- a teal Ford Thunderbird or Mercury Cougar -- drove away, police said. The car was last seen heading west on Sunset Point Road.

    The car is an early-1990s model with a tan top. Police say the car has damage to its front and probably to its windshield.

    Molochnikov ran a floral design school in Clearwater in the 1980s and worked much of her life as a florist, her family said.

    "She loved the work," said her sister, Suzanne Beall, who works in news production at the St. Petersburg Times.

    Molochnikov was raised in Ohio and came to Florida more than 30 years ago, said her brother, William Benton, of San Antonio. Her sister said Molochnikov was an accomplished painter and was charismatic, personable and well-liked. She said family members are hoping police can find the car and driver.

    "I think it's such an unfitting end for her and such a shock," Beall said. "I'm angry that it had to end like that."

    Molochnikov is survived by three brothers and two sisters, and a daughter, Joy.

    Anyone with information about the car or driver can call Clearwater police at 562-4420.

    -- Chris Tisch can be reached at 445-4156 or tisch@sptimes.com.

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