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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff reports
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 12, 2002


    Fallen tree cuts power in Tierra Verde

    ST. PETERSBURG -- More than 3,000 homes in Tierra Verde were briefly without electricity Tuesday night when a falling tree hit a main power line.

    The tree, which may have been toppled by a lightning strike, knocked down a feeder line that fed power to the Bayway subdivision, according to Florida Power officials. An estimated 3,100 households were without power until the problem was repaired later Tuesday night.

    FHP identifies girl killed crossing road

    TAMPA -- Florida Highway Patrol officials have identified the 13-year-old girl who was killed while crossing N Dale Mabry Highway in Carrollwood Monday morning.

    Lauren Lindsie Harvey of 3450 Palencia Drive was running across northbound lanes of Dale Mabry at Northdale Boulevard when Edwin Hernandez, 38, of Tampa hit her with his Ford van.

    Lauren was a "regular teenager, very likable," according to her grandfather, Ron Peterson, 60.

    She had just completed seventh grade at Ben Hill Middle School, and like other teenagers liked to spend time chatting on the phone. She also took care of her 4-year-old brother, Steven, said Peterson.

    Peterson said Lauren had just moved back to Tampa from Orlando in November. While living in Orlando, she was a cheerleader at her middle school.

    He said he did not know where she was going Monday morning.

    According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, Lauren was crossing the road and didn't see the van coming. Authorities say alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

    Peterson said funeral arrangements have not been made.

    Tampa driver charged in cyclist's death

    TAMPA -- A Tampa man faces charges in the death of a motorcyclist in a traffic accident.

    Krzysztof Gruszecki, 57, of 1250 Skipper Road, was driving a 1988 Toyota shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday when he turned in front of a motorcycle driven by Courtney London, 43, of Lutz, police said.

    Gruszecki, eastbound on Fletcher Avenue, turned on to Nebraska Avenue in front of the westbound London, deputies said, causing the motorcycle to skid 36 feet before the driver was ejected and hit the Toyota.

    London was pronounced dead at the scene. Gruszecki, who was not injured, was charged with driving with a suspended license resulting in death. He is being held as a habitual traffic offender in lieu of $5,000 bail.

    State records show that since 1993 Gruszecki has been convicted of seven traffic offenses, including speeding and DUI.

    Dead manatee found in Kings Bay

    CRYSTAL RIVER -- Wildlife officials recovered a dead manatee from Kings Bay on Tuesday. The 5-foot, roughly 250-pound male had no visible boat propeller markings, said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The calf, found on the west side of Buzzard Island, was taken to Florida Marine Research Institute in St. Petersburg for a necropsy. Three other manatees have been found dead this year in Citrus County, the institute said.

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