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The Week in Review

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 9, 2002


PLANE CRASH NEAR LUTZ: A 30-year-old pilot crashed a Cessna 172 Skyhawk near Van Dyke Road, 10 hours after being involved in another plane crash. Michael Antinori, 30, died Tuesday. His family suspects a mechanical error was involved.

Antinori had crashed his experimental helicopter onto the roof of a house Monday night near Temple Terrace. He escaped with minor injuries, and the home's occupants were unharmed. The next morning, Antinori was the only person in his Cessna when it smashed into some woods.

It could be weeks before investigators know the cause. They are examining flight controls, the engine, fuel records and all systems on the aircraft.

Antinori had no previous accidents or incidents, according to Federal Aviation Authority records. The agency also had no records that Antinori's Cessna had any mechanical problems, but those reports are made voluntarily by pilots.

* * *

TORNADO IN TOWN 'N COUNTRY: Until Wednesday night, Claude Ladd was proud owner of a 28-year-old mobile home that was just about paid off. Then a tornado tore through his Town 'N Country neighborhood. Now he is the proud owner of an uninsured mess. Ladd, who lives on income from Social Security, was one of about 30 residents of the Essex Downs mobile home park whose homes were damaged by a twister that skipped through northwest Hillsborough about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The storm continued on a westerly path into northern Pinellas County after taking a swipe at Essex Downs, south of Hillsborough Avenue and west of Sheldon Road. One woman suffered minor injures and three families were left homeless.

Ladd's home on Coventry Drive was one of the most severely damaged. He said he is not insured because insurance companies told him his mobile home, built in 1974, was too old and did not have the requisite tie-downs.

The neighborhood could receive help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency if at least 25 uninsured homes are damaged, in the form of low-cost home repair loans.

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CHARGES REDUCED IN CITRUS PARK TEEN BEATING: Prosecutors reduced charges against 21-year-old Alan Thompson from second-degree murder to manslaughter in the death of Christopher Fannan, the Sickles High School senior felled by a single punch to the temple on May 19.

Fannan, 18, was in the parking lot of the Citrus Park Steak n Shake when authorities say Thompson climbed out of a car and struck him. Fannan died later that day at St. Joseph's Hospital.

"To prove second-degree murder we would have to show the act was certain to cause death or great bodily harm," Hillsborough State Attorney's spokeswoman Pam Bondi said. "The intent is what we can't prove."

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