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Four hurt as pickup rolls over in wreck

The Palm Harbor crash sends all four St. Petersburg men to hospitals. Two, who were ejected from the truck bed and pinned, are in serious condition.

By NICOLE JOHNSON
Published March 26, 2005


PALM HARBOR - Two men riding in the bed of a pickup truck were thrown out as the truck flipped several times in a wreck on Tampa Road Friday afternoon, authorities said.

The truck landed upside down, partly on top of the ejected men, Palm Harbor Fire Rescue District Chief Dan Zinge said.

Those two men, as well two pulled from the truck's cab, were sent to hospitals.

The Florida Highway Patrol was still investigating the accident and had released few details Friday night. The black Chevrolet S-10 truck is registered to William Bryan, owner of Sunshine Boy's Painting in Clearwater.

Friday night, Bryan identified the men in the accident as four of his employees: Randy Paquette, 36; Scott Compher, 30; Lyman Bocock, 28; and Gary Odom, 50. All are from St. Petersburg, he said.

Bocock and Odom were ejected from the truck bed, Bryan said. Paquette, the driver, and Compher were in the cab. Bystanders pulled the men out of the cab of the smashed truck and helped the ejected men out from under the truck, Zinge said. Two of the men were flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg and two were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa by ambulance.

Odom and Bocock were listed in serious condition at St. Joseph's on Friday night. Paquette was listed in fair condition at Bayfront. Compher's condition was not available.

The crash happened just west of County Road 1, where Tampa Road and Brookside Court intersect.

Just after 3:30 p.m., the pickup was traveling east on Tampa Road when it came in contact with another vehicle and went out of control, rolling several times, Zinge said.

Natalie Rodriques, 19, of Tampa said she was headed east on Tampa Road when the pickup truck attempted to pass her Honda Civic. Rodriques said she tried to swerve out of the way but had to swerve back to avoid hitting a pole and hit the truck.

"We were going the same direction and at the speed limit and they tried to pass," Rodriques said. "I tried to swerve out of the way."

Rodriques, who was hyperventilating after the accident, was monitored by paramedics but had no serious injuries, Zinge said.

Bryan said the four men had worked for him for several years, off and on, and were returning from a job.

"I'm just stunned," said Bryan, who was at St. Joseph's Hospital on Friday evening.

Bryan said Odom and Bocock were "pretty banged up, but talking" Friday evening.

Traffic on Tampa Road west of CR 1 was shut down for about an hour as rescue workers, state troopers and a hazardous materials team assessed the damage and gathered information.

A chemical smell filled the air. The crushed truck had several paint cans in the back that splattered all over the road.

Storm sewers had to be blocked off just west of the accident so that the spilled paint would not run into the system.

Resident Shannon Keane said the accident created a metal grinding sound that could be heard throughout the nearby Forest Oaks subdivision.

"All you could hear was total acceleration," Keane said. "Then there was this big crash and something that sounded like metal scraping the ground."

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Nicole Johnson can be reached at njohnson@sptimes.com or 727 771-4303.

[Last modified March 26, 2005, 01:08:17]


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