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Driver on wrong side of the road is killed

The vehicle went into the median, flipped and landed in a creek, killing an Odessa resident.

By BRIDGET HALL GRUMET, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 4, 2003

The wrong way turned deadly Sunday for an Odessa man.

Albert J. Arzu Jr., 44, of 1337 Fishing Lake Drive died in a car accident shortly before 8 p.m. after driving the wrong way on State Road 56 between Wesley Chapel and Land O'Lakes, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Arzu, owner of the Signworks Plus shop in New Port Richey, leaves behind a wife and son.

"He cared about his community," said Sharon Sinkey, who writes the neighborhood newsletter for Lake Parker Estates, where Arzu lived. "He was a nice man, and he had a very good sense of humor.

"My teeth about fell to the floor when I heard the news."

Arzu's wife, Rosalyn, was not available Monday afternoon for comments.

According to the Highway Patrol, Arzu was driving west in the eastbound lanes on SR 56, just past Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. His 2003 GMC veered into the median and struck the guard rail, causing the vehicle to flip, the report said.

The overturned vehicle came to rest in a creek, the report said.

The impact killed Arzu, who was not wearing a seat belt, according to the report.

It was not Arzu's first tragedy behind the wheel.

In 1998 he was involved in an accident, caused by another driver, that killed a 31-year-old Holiday hairstylist. According to reports, a teenage driver weaving through traffic in Tarpon Springs cut in front of Arzu, forcing Arzu to swerve into another lane. Arzu struck Kim Nichols, killing her on impact, the reports said.

Arzu was cited with careless driving in a separate accident a year earlier, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

-- Bridget Hall Grumet can be reached at 352-521-5757 ext. 23 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6108, then 23. Her e-mail address is bhall@sptimes.com .

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