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Teen dies, 2 injured in crash in Largo

Joshua Costello, 19, wasn't wearing his seat belt in the wreck on Ulmerton Road in Largo.

By JAMES THORNER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 1, 2002

Joshua Costello was a budding mechanic and amateur drag racer who sometimes won cash while tearing up the tracks in St. Petersburg and Lakeland.

Always strapped in as a drag racer, Costello hadn't been wearing his seat belt in the accident on Ulmerton Road in Largo that cost him his life. "They said had he had a seat belt on, he could have survived," his mother, Rabecca Wiseman of Wesley Chapel, said Saturday of her only son. Costello, who once attended Zephyrhills High School, was 19. Injured in the accident was his 18-year-old cousin, Kevin Costello, and his friend, Dustin Stringfield, 19.

A 1993 Jeep driven by Felix Gonzalez-Perez, 38, of Belleair was going west on Ulmerton. It turned in front of Stringfield's car, which had been driving east, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Although the crash toppled the Jeep, none of the four in Perez's car was seriously hurt in the 7:10 p.m. accident.

Wiseman still didn't know what her son was doing that evening in Pinellas County. She learned about the crash three hours later.

"I had two officers come to my door at 10 p.m. and tell me," said Wiseman, who planned to make arrangements with Oakley Funeral Home on Saturday.

His family made sure that Costello would make one final contribution. They donated some of his organs through the LifeLink organ procurement system.

"That's just the way Josh was," Wiseman said. "He'd give you anything."

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