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Insurance worker killed at site of traffic fatality

By Times Staff
Published June 21, 2005


TAMPA - An insurance company employee taking pictures of a fatal accident was killed early Monday when he stepped into traffic and was hit by a car.

His death came five hours after a 59-year-old bicyclist from Plant City died in the same spot.

"Thankfully, this doesn't happen very often," said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper Larry Coggins.

According to the FHP, the first crash happened at 9:05 p.m. Sunday. Andres Martinez-Hernandez of Plant City was crossing State Road 39 at Candis Road on a 10-speed Roadmaster bicycle when he pedaled into the path of a 2005 GMC pickup driven by Frederick W. Tucker, 78, of Wesley Chapel.

The impact sent Martinez-Hernandez and the truck into the path of a 2003 tractor-trailer hauling merchandise for Wal-Mart, according to the FHP report. Tractor-trailer driver Hiram Watson, 50, of Dade City did not have time to stop and ran into the bicyclist and the pickup, Coggins said.

"That driver just had nowhere to go," he said.

Watson, Tucker and Tucker's 68-year-old passenger Roselyn McKell were not injured. But Martinez-Hernandez, who has family in North Carolina, died at the scene, Coggins said.

Troopers hadn't cleared the crash scene when the insurance company employee taking pictures was hit.

The employee, 65-year-old James H. Sineath of Clearwater, was on the shoulder of SR 39 north of Candis Road at 1:50 a.m. when he walked into the path of a 2001 Chevrolet. Sineath, who works for the insurance company that handles claims for Wal-Mart, died at the scene.

The Chevrolet driver, Edgar J. Torres, 27, of Zephyrhills, was not injured, according to an FHP report. The FHP has not filed charges in either crash. Both are still under investigation, Coggins said.

[Last modified June 21, 2005, 02:30:30]


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