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Driver arrested in 2004 hit-run

A second driver is still at large in the death of a 21-year-old woman who was hit twice on Seminole Boulevard 19 months ago.

By AARON SHAROCKMAN
Published December 2, 2005


For a year and a half, Sarah Landry's family hoped investigators would hear from someone who knew about two drivers who ran over Landry on Seminole Boulevard.

Landry's family pleaded for help, even putting up a billboard asking for tips, as relatives struggled with her death at age 21.

Finally, the Florida Highway Patrol says, someone is speaking up.

State troopers on Thursday said they arrested one of the drivers who ran over Landry, of Seminole, 19 months ago.

Michael R. Huey, 37, of St. Petersburg was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, the same charge Jennifer Porter pleaded guilty to in August.

In a 2000 Chevrolet pickup, Huey had the second vehicle to hit Landry on April 18, 2004, troopers said Landry, who had just left a nearby bar, was struck crossing six lanes of traffic on the busy road.

The first car knocked her down, then Huey's truck ran her over, troopers say. She died later at Largo Medical Center.

Unable to find the vehicles that hit Landry, family members raised a billboard at a nearby intersection pleading for someone to come forward.

Over time, Huey's passenger did, said Trooper Larry Coggins, an FHP spokesman. Authorities did not identify the passenger.

Family members said they knew troopers were close to identifying one of the drivers for more than a month.

Landry's brother Bill Hoopes, who said he has spoken to authorities about the case, said he learned from them that the passenger drove past the billboard each day as she headed to work. The billboard was posted on Seminole Boulevard, near Walsingham Road, and stood for a year.

"Human nature started to eat at her," said Hoopes.

The family has struggled since Landry's death, Hoopes said. Landry's sister has left Pinellas County and Landry's parents split up and sold their house.

"It's been a rough year and a half," Hoopes said. "The death tore us apart, I'm hoping the conviction puts us together."

Coggins said investigators have gathered evidence from Huey's truck, as well as from its passenger. Huey has been cooperating, he said.

"We are very pleased that we're coming to end to this investigation, especially so we can provide some closure to the family," said Coggins.

Troopers are continuing to search for the first vehicle.

Landry was born in Massachusetts but was raised in Oldsmar. She attended East Lake High School and was a tomboy who worked on her own car, a red Ford Escort, and fished with the men, according to her family.

Huey was booked into the Pinellas County Jail where he remained Thursday night in lieu $50,000 bail.

"It's been a long fight, but in some ways, it's just beginning now," Hoopes said.

--Aaron Sharockman can be reached at 727 445-4160 or asharockman@sptimes.com

[Last modified December 2, 2005, 01:14:18]


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